The Phoenix DUI Law Blog

Family of Boy Killed by Drunk Driver Settles Suit with Tucson

The family of a 14-year-old boy who was killed by a drunk driver in 2008 has settled its civil suit with the city of Tucson for $2 million, the Arizona Daily Star reports.

Glenda Rumsey was convicted of manslaughter, aggravated assault, and three DUI charges for the accident that killed Jose Rincon Jr. Rincon’s parents later filed a wrongful death suit against Rumsey, the city of Tucson, and Chuy’s restaurant where Rumsey drank before the crash.

The suit serves as a reminder that drunk driving can expose you not only to criminal charges, but civil liability as well.

At around 7:20 p.m. on Jan. 12, 2008, Rincon and a friend were riding their bikes on East Broadway. Rumsey, who had been drinking at Chuy’s prior to the incident, struck both of the teens in her car. Rincon was killed in the crash.

The family of Rincon brought a civil suit against the city, claiming that nearby construction made it unclear where the bike lane ended and the driving lanes began. Rincon’s parents likely sued Chuy’s under Arizona’s dram shop law, which allows the family members of a drunk driving victim to sue the bar or restaurant who served alcohol to the driver if the driver was showing signs of intoxication at the time. Rumsey, who was convicted on the criminal charges, also faced civil liability in the Rincons’ suit.

Prosecutors often charge individuals with vehicular manslaughter after they kill someone while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Under Arizona’s criminal code, manslaughter is defined as “recklessly causing the death of another person.” In order to convict Rumsey of manslaughter, the court had to find that her conduct was a “gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.”

The City of Tucson has agreed to name a recreation facility or basketball court for Jose Rincon Jr. Glenda Rumsey is currently serving a 14-year sentence for her manslaughter conviction and a 13-year sentence for aggravated assault.

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