Trial date set in fatal drunk driving lawsuits

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Jury selection is set to begin in November in civil lawsuits stemming from a fatal drunk driving collision that left two dead in 2013.

Chad Caldwell, 38, is currently serving two 20-year prison sentences in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for intoxication manslaughter and one 10-year term for intoxication assault for causing a wreck Sept. 29, 2013, that took the lives of Tameka Pavon, 38, and Jercarlos Hawkins, 34, and left Genaro Camacho, 28 at the time of the crash, with permanent disability.

Pavon’s and Hawkins’ families filed wrongful death suits in 2015 against Caldwell and Hopkins Icehouse bar, where the suits allege Caldwell consumed 20 beers and several mixed drinks before the deadly accident. Caldwell ran a red light at the intersection of State Line Avenue and 14th Street in Texarkana, Texas, shortly before 2 a.m., Sept. 29, 2013, and smashed his jeep into Pavon’s 2004 Honda sedan. Caldwell’s blood alcohol level was .301.

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Last year lawyers representing Hopkins filed a third party complaint which added Fat Jack’s Oyster and Sports Bar as a defendant in the cases. Recently the two lawsuits were combined without objections from either side and scheduled for jury selection Nov. 13 by Miller County Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson. Both of the bars being sued are in Texarkana, Ark.

Fat Jack’s has filed a response in the cases which claims Caldwell was not served any alcohol at Fat Jack’s. Hopkins has filed responses denying it should be held liable for Caldwell’s reckless conduct. Caldwell pleaded guilty in Bowie County in 2014 and has been denied parole twice. He next parole hearing is in January 2018, according to TDCJ’s website.

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