Disabled man sues drunk driver, local bar

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A man disabled in a 2013 crash in Texarkana filed a lawsuit this week against a convicted drunk driver and the bar where he was allegedly over-served.

Tameka Pavon, 38, died after her Honda sedan was violently struck by Chad Caldwell’s jeep when he ran a red light at the intersection of State Line Avenue and 14th Street. Jercarlos Hawkins, 34, a passenger in the Honda, was killed also. Genaro Camacho, then 28, another of Pavon’s passengers, survived the wreck but is permanently disabled.

According to a complaint filed Wednesday in Miller County Circuit Court on his behalf, Camacho’s left hand is paralyzed, he has difficulty walking because of injuries to his lower extremities, and brain damage which has altered his personality and temperament. Little Rock lawyer Bryce Brewster is seeking damages from Caldwell, Hopkins Icehouse and the bar’s owners.

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Caldwell is currently serving 20 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for one count of intoxication assault and two counts of intoxication manslaughter in connection with the crash. Caldwell’s blood alcohol was .301 when it was tested after the crash. He was sentenced in September 2014 for the Sept. 28, 2013, crash that ended Pavon’s and Hawkins’ lives and changed Camacho’s forever. The Texas parole board denied Caldwell early release in January. His case will be reviewed again in January 2017.

Camacho’s suit and two wrongful death cases filed by the families of Pavon and Hawkins accuse Caldwell of negligence for driving drunk and running a red light. The suits also claim Hopkins Icehouse, where Caldwell allegedly consumed about 20 beers and several mixed drinks, is liable.

The suits accuse Hopkins bar and wait staff violated Arkansas law which prohibits the sale of alcohol to clearly intoxicated persons. The popular downtown bar is also accused of negligently allowing a visibly drunk Caldwell to leave without trying to sober him up or taking steps to make sure he didn’t drive in a state of dangerous intoxication.

All of the suits list Caldwell; Hopkins Icehouse; Layin’ Low Inc. doing business as Hopkins Icehouse; owner George Dodson; owner David Jones; and alcohol sale permit holder Mike Rogers as defendants. Also listed are John Doe insurance companies which may be liable as well.

Camacho is asking the court to award him damages for his past and future pain and suffering, his past and future emotional distress, and his past and future medical expenses. Camacho is also seeking punitive damages which are supposed to hit the defendants’ pockets so as to deter them from repeating the same conduct in the future.

All of the suits have been assigned Circuit Judge Brent Haltom.

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