Jessica Traylor, 17, was already facing a $1 million lawsuit in connection with the wreck that killed 47-year-old Liandro Garcia on April 29. Now Liandro's widow, Alicia Garcia, has filed a $15 million lawsuit against Traylor, her father and against the owners of the apartment complex where she allegedly consumed alcohol.
Traylor was arrested for intoxication manslaughter immediately after the wreck at Quaker and 19th Street.
Storm Murry and Jane Aland, who both suffered severe injuries during the accident, filed a $1 million dollar lawsuit accusing Traylor of negligence on May 10.
This new wrongful death lawsuit, filed Tuesday morning by Garcia family attorney Davis Smith, also contains accusations of negligence against Jessica Traylor and her father, George, and goes on to accuse the owners of The Ranch Apartments of negligence as well, for allowing alcohol to be served to a minor on their property.
"Some people might think we're asking for a lot of money, but we're trying to get the attention of a lot of people. We want to have a ripple effect to change people's conduct that allows this to happen," attorney Davis Smith said. "She didn't do this by herself. People enabled her, and allowed this to happen. We want to punish those people."
The lawsuit states Traylor's father George was negligent when he allowed a "reckless" person to drive his car. Smith says the fact that Traylor was arrested a little more than a month before the accident for possession of a dangerous drug only strengthens the lawsuit's claims against George.
"What was he doing that day? Why was she allowed to have keys to the car? He knew she's been in trouble before," Smith said.
As for the Ranch Apartments, Smith says they are just as guilty. "There are numerous pictures of her drinking on the premises. I don't want anybody telling me they didn't know about it," he said.
We called the Ranch Apartments and spoke to their general manager, Amy Bennett. She says there were no sanctioned pool parties or community functions at the pool or the complex on April 29. She says complex employees did not serve alcohol to anyone that day.
"It really doesn't matter to me. The owners are responsible," Smith said. "Would I allow a bunch of teenagers to come on to my property to drink, and then leave? No you bet not. It's the same theory here. You don't let teenage drinking occur on your premises and then let them get into cars and leave."
Some have questioned the large amount, $15 million, that the family is asking for. Smith says while there is no amount that can bring back Garcia, he believes this amount is completely acceptable and needed.
"Alicia told me this morning that she would rather have her husband back and live in a shack. She doesn't care about money," Smith said. "But she understands that if we don't sue them for this type of money these people are not going to change, and this is going to continue to happen. We have got to do something about teenage drinking, particularly at apartment complexes. These teens seek out places where they can get away with this and we have got to put a stop to it. That's what this lawsuit is about."
We contacted Traylor's attorney, but they would not comment on either lawsuit.
KCBD's Tiffany Pelt will have more on this story tonight at 10.
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