A Foothills eatery is facing a lawsuit for allegedly serving alcohol to an underage driver charged with causing a fatal traffic accident on his way home.
North Italia restaurant, 2995 E. Skyline Drive and its parent firm, Fox Restaurant Concepts LLC, are among those named as defendants in the civil case that claims the restaurant served booze to driver Anthony Hall, 18, and his two companions shortly before their car crashed into a light pole.
One of the passengers, Mihir Dixit, 23, a student from India studying at the University of Arizona, died at the scene of the late-night crash near North Oracle Road and West Auto Mall Drive in September 2017.
The other passenger, Isabella Patterson, then 19, was seriously hurt and was expected to need corrective surgeries for her injuries.
The restaurant, in the upscle La Encantada shopping center, has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit. Corporate spokeswoman Stephanie Clarke would not comment, saying the firm does not comment on pending litigation.
Patterson, the injured passenger, and the late student’s parents are plaintiffs in the case filed Sept. 10 in Pima County Superior Court.
The plaintiffs have requested a jury trial.
Hall also is named as a defendant. He couldn’t be reached for comment because court records do not yet list an attorney for him.
A Tucson Police Department report provided to the Star by one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys said the driver, Hall, initially told police he’d been drinking at home before the crash, but a few days later, said one of his friends had been buying him “alcoholic drinks at North restaurant prior to the incident.”
Tests taken after the crash showed Hall’s blood alcohol level at two to three times the legal limit for driving, the police report said.
The lawsuit accuses the restaurant of negligence, claiming North staffers served the trio two bottles of $200 champagne and two $65 bottles of white wine during a 90-minute visit despite Hall and Patterson being underage at the time.
A search of online records of Arizona’s liquor department indicates that no disciplinary action has been taken to date against the restaurant’s liquor license.
Hall was charged by police with one count of second-degree murder, one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of aggravated assault causing serious or permanent physical injury.
The status of those criminal charges was not immediately available.
Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at 573-4138 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @AZStarConsumer