Two private clubs have been found liable for not checking the membership of a convicted drunk driver whose vehicle struck and killed a 17-year-old boy.
Bartenders and other workers assumed Paul Guy Bredehoft was a member when he walked into Uncle Bart's private club on March 1, 1994, and started drinking vodka and Coke.It was the same when he went later that day to Charley's Club where the bartender knew his drink of choice and served him without checking whether he was a member, according to a copyright story of Sunday's Salt Lake Tribune.
Bredehoft - who had at least seven previous drunken-driving convictions and had lost his driving privileges - ended up consuming up to 24 drinks before climbing behind the wheel of his red Mustang.
Highland High School student Sean Adkins was struck and killed while watching friends fix a flat tire along an I-15 collector road.
Third District Court jurors, who last week scrutinized the clubs' liability in Adkins' death, determined the bars violated Utah's Dramshop Act by serving a nonmember who had not been sponsored or invited by a club member.
The two clubs' membership rolls for 1994 did not include Brede-hoft.
At Uncle Bart's, "he just walked in and sat down," said head juror Peter E. Cartwright, a professor at the University of Utah. At Charley's Club, "there was no indication there was anything said about him being a guest."
The jury returned a $1.8 million verdict against Bredehoft and the two clubs - including punitive damages of $250,000 from Uncle Bart's, $100,000 from Charley's Club and $500,000 from Bredehoft.
The first $1 million - general compensation to Adkins parents, Michael and Roberta, for the death of their son - is to be jointly paid by Bredehoft and the two clubs.