A Long Island woman is suing Suffolk County and a local Ruby Tuesday restaurant for creating the situation that she believes led to her son’s drunk driving death.
Peter Fedden, a 29-year-old deli owner, was able to survive a potentially disastrous alcohol-related crash in July 2013 only to die half an hour later when, still intoxicated, he got behind the wheel of another car.
Fedden’s mother, Kathi Fedden is suing the county for negligence since the police who picked her son up after the first accident allegedly did nothing to prevent him from getting back on the road. According to Fedden, if police had arrested her son, the night would have gone differently.
According to the lawsuit, Peter Fedden was helping a friend open his own deli until 9 p.m., then drove to a local Ruby Tuesday, where his mother’s attorney, Harry Thomasson, told People magazine that he was “over-served at the bar” and “had way too much to drink.”
According to the lawsuit, Fedden left Ruby Tuesday and returned to his deli around the corner to smoke marijuana with a friend. Eventually, he left in his car to pick up more. At around 11:30 p.m., Fedden and his friends were involved in a crash that Thomasson describes as “horrific.” Fedden was going 90 miles per hour around a bend at the time.
The car traveled across at least two lawns, through a fence, and into a parked car. According to Thomasson, police arrived on the scene, checked that the passengers were okay, and told them to “get the hell out of there.” Fedden’s car was towed and Fedden was driven home in a police car.
The lawsuit alleges that the police dropped Fedden off at his mother’s house where three other cars were parked instead of placing him under arrest. Eventually, Fedden drove another car and was involved in another crash, this one deadly.
Fedden’s mother and her lawyer allege that the police gave Fedden special treatment since they frequently ate at his deli. Anyone else, they claim, would have been arrested and thereby protected from themselves.
“It is terrible that cops and bars act this way–drunk drivers kill and maim more people in the United States than in any other country in the world,” says Gary Burger, Attorney and Partner, Cantor & Burger, LLC. “The case against the police will likely fail as they are protected by sovereign immunity and must be sued under Section 1983 where plaintiffs are held to a standard of deliberate indifference. The restaurant bar should be liable under applicable dram shop laws, but these can be tough cases and causation is a tough burden. Drunk drivers could have drank anyway.”
Fedden was driving at speeds over 100 miles per hour when he crashed, and his blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit. His mother is suing the county for $30 million.