Two bars on Fourth Avenue are being sued for negligence in connection with a 2015 DUI crash that left four people dead, court documents show.
In a lawsuit filed last month, three family members of the deceased are alleging the bars acted negligently “by failing to exercise reasonable care in the sale of alcohol,” when serving the driver of the vehicle.
The families are also suing the driver, 27-year-old Jesus Olea.
Last July, Olea and three other people went out drinking on Fourth Avenue, spending time at two bars, according to court records.
The bars named in the lawsuit are O’Malleys, 247 N. Fourth Ave., and Che’s Lounge, across the street at 350 N. Fourth.
After leaving the bar, Olea crashed into a tree, killing his three passengers, one of whom was pregnant, documents show.
Olea was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. While there he “admitted that he had been drinking by shaking his head up and down (in a) yes motion,” according to probable-cause documents.
Blood tests results showed that Olea had a blood alcohol level of 0.18, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08, court records show.
The passengers killed in the crash were identified as Alexandria Lara, 25; Martin Verdugo, 26; and Sheyla Velarde, 28. Lara’s unborn child is listed as the fourth fatality.
Documents show that Lara had no alcohol in her system at the time of the crash.
After his release from the hospital, Olea was charged with four counts of felony manslaughter and two felony DUIs, according to court records.
He was released from the Pima County jail in September on a $400,000 bond and has a court appearance scheduled for next month.
Plaintiffs Marco Velarde, Rosa Velarde and Denise Lara are asking the court to award damages for the negligence that led to the deaths of their loved ones, as well as attorney fees and punitive damages, according to the documents.
A representative from O’Malleys would not comment. The phone number listed on the department of liquor’s website for Victor V. L.L.C., the company that owns Che’s, was not in service.