Teens Die in Accident from Alcohol Provided by Adults

We often report on adults who make the very bad decision of providing alcohol to young drinkers. It has happened again and we are hearing the specifics of the case. This time, two adult men in Palm Beach Gardens admit that they hosted an open-house party attended by teens that were provided alcohol. Following one party last August, three teenagers were killed in a Florida wrongful death car crash at a construction site. The two adult men have been arrested.

Craig Frick, 24, and David Harper, 28, turned themselves into police. Frick and Harper have been charged with allowing teens to drink on their property. WPBF is now reporting details of the arrest report.

The two adults admit to having a house party in August, 2009. Conner Graver, 16, and his friends, Christopher Briglio and Nicholas Coady, both 18, all died together when their SUV slammed into a front-end loader after they left the party. Toxicology tests prove all of the teens had been drinking. Coady, the driver, had a 0.251 blood alcohol level, more than three times the legal limit for intoxication.

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by Graver’s parents against the construction company for failing to have adequate lighting at the site.

Who is liable? Florida drunk driving accident attorneys know that the law concerning liquor sales to underage drinkers is clear. Called the Dram Shop Act (Florida Statute, Section 768.125), it says an establishment or person who provides alcoholic beverages to a minor may be liable for injury and damages caused while that minor is drunk. These laws may apply to an adult hosting a party for underage teenagers or an establishment serving alcohol to somebody under the age of 21.

In a recent case, a St. Augustine mother was charged with two counts of manslaughter after hosting teen drinking parties. Two teens died after one of her open-house parties. Florida law says no person who controls a residence shall allow an open house party to take place where anyone under the age of 21 can consume alcohol. Violators face up to six months in prison unless there is a death.

These two party hosts are fortunate they too are not facing manslaughter charges. The jury failed to convict Diane Santarelli, who is still civilly liable for the deaths and damage.