Hopkins Icehouse wants Fat Jack’s to share blame for drunk driving deaths

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Lawyers for Hopkins Icehouse want to add Fat Jack’s Oyster and Sports Bar as a defendant in lawsuits filed over a 2013 drunk driving wreck that left two dead.

Chad Caldwell ran a red light at North State Line Avenue and 14th Street in Texarkana a few minutes after 2 a.m. Sept. 29, 2013. Caldwell’s jeep smashed into Tameka Pavon’s small, 2004 Honda, killing Pavon, 38, and passenger Jercarlos Hawkins, 34. Genaro Camacho, 28, also a passenger in the Honda, survived the crash but suffered severe brain injuries.

The families of Hawkins and Pavon filed wrongful death suits last year in Miller County, Ark., with the help of Texarkana lawyers Chad Trammell and Hawley Holman naming Hopkins, the bar’s owners and Caldwell as defendants. Hopkins’ lawyers recently filed a motion asking to include Fat Jack’s and Meredith Mills, owner of Fat Jack’s, as third party defendants.

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When Caldwell slammed into the Honda, his blood alcohol level was .301, well above the legal limit of .08. The suits allege Caldwell was allowed to drink excessively at Hopkins and that staff at the bar shouldn’t have let him drive drunk. In a motion filed June 29, Hopkins’ lawyers continue to deny misconduct but argue that if any is placed on the bar, Fat Jack’s should share liability. According to a proposed third party complaint attached to the motion to add Fat Jack’s as a defendant, Caldwell went to Fat Jack’s around midnight Sept. 28, 2013, and continued drinking alcohol until the bar closed at 2 a.m.

The complaint Hopkins’ lawyers want to file allege Fat Jack’s is guilty of negligence for serving Caldwell alcohol when he was obviously already intoxicated. The case is currently pending before Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson.

Caldwell is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for two counts of intoxication manslaughter and one count of intoxication assault. Caldwell was denied parole after a hearing in January, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website.

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