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Ex-North Carolina pol sues driver, bar for collision injuries

Former North Carolina state legislator Larry Womble, who retired from politics after being seriously injured in a car accident in 2011, has filed a personal injury suit against the estate of the man who caused the accident and the bar that served him alcohol that night. Womble's attorney said that the drunk driving accident caused his client tremendous personal and professional damage.

The deceased man spent much of the evening of Dec. 2, 2011 drinking at a Winston-Salem bar called Sixth & Vine. Womble believes that the bar continued to serve alcohol to the man even after it became clear that he was intoxicated, then allowed him to drive away "in an extremely intoxicated condition" around 11 p.m.

While driving home, the man's car crossed over the median into the path of Womble's vehicle. The resulting collision caused the man to die at the scene and severely injured Womble, who was in critical condition. He survived but relies on a wheelchair as he undergoes physical therapy to hopefully walk again someday. He retired from the state General Assembly after the accident.

Ironically, the other man in the accident was the son of a former political rival of Wombie's. He and the rival, who once ran for his seat, later became friends.

As we have discussed before, North Carolina has a "dram shop law" on the books. This statute makes it possible for someone injured by a drunk driver to hold the bar, restaurant or similar business that overserved him or her financially accountable. The theory is that the "dram shop" indirectly contributed to the accident by allowing a drunk driver to take to the streets.

Source: Winston-Salem Journal, "Womble sues Sixth & Vine and estate of man killed in 2011 crash," Michael Hewlett, July 23, 2013

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