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Mom sues restaurant after son dies in crash

The Brewmasters in Wesley Chapel, which has closed, served her underage son alcohol, the woman says.


© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 7, 2001

DADE CITY -- A Dade City woman has sued a restaurant that she says served her underage son and his friend alcohol on the night her son died in an alcohol-related car crash.

Pamela A. Tobey filed a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit Tuesday in Circuit Court against the Wesley Chapel Brewmasters restaurant and its parent company, Marvels Inc., over the July 19, 1999, crash on State Road 54 that killed her 18-year-old son, Christopher.

The restaurant closed this spring. Company owner Vincent Aumann was out of town and could not be reached for comment Wednesday, said a woman who answered the phone at his Tampa home.

While it was operating, Brewmasters was known locally for its advertisements of free beer refills with a meal purchase.

Ms. Tobey's lawsuit says that waiters at Brewmasters served Christopher Tobey and driver Jason Chee Don, then 19, alcoholic beverages without checking their identification.

Don was driving a borrowed pickup truck faster than the 45 mph speed limit, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, and also had a blood alcohol level over the 0.08 limit at which the state presumes that someone is impaired.

And neither teen was wearing a seat belt when the truck crashed near Old Cypress Creek Road.

Tobey was thrown from the truck. As he lay in the road, he was run over by a passing car, according to the highway patrol. He died at the scene. Don was paralyzed from the chest down in the crash.

The highway patrol closed its investigation and turned the results over to the state attorney's office. Don wasn't charged with killing his friend, according to Pasco County court records.

Ms. Tobey is asking a jury to award unspecified damages above the $15,000 Circuit Court threshold.

The lawsuit says Brewmasters employees were not properly trained in identifying underage drinkers and had been warned about problems with the servers who provided alcoholic beverages to Don and Tobey.

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