Syracuse restaurant off the hook after drunken ex-fire chief crashes, dies on way home

Syracuse restaurant off the hook after drunken ex-fire chief crashes, dies on way home

Syracuse, NY — An Onondaga County decide dominated lately that Syracuse’s Attilio’s Restaurant and Bar can not be sued for serving a drunken ex-fire chief alcohol the night he crashed and died in February 2017.



a sign on the side of a building: Attilio's former location on North Salina Street, in Syracuse.


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Attilio’s previous spot on North Salina Street, in Syracuse.

Less than condition law, a cafe can be sued if it knowingly served a drunken patron who later triggers an personal injury, these kinds of as through a battle or as the end result of a automobile crash.

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There is no query Robert J. Nelson, 70, was drunk when he crashed into a vehicle carrying Sueria Ashkar, 24, after Nelson left the cafe the night time of Feb. 17, 2017.

Nelson, who died in the crash, had a blood-liquor content of .23 — almost a few times the authorized limit — just after the crash on Buckley Highway, troopers claimed.

Nelson was Syracuse fireplace chief from 1998 to 2001 and was a metropolis firefighter for more than 30 years.

But to maintain the cafe dependable below the so-known as dram shop law, there has to be proof that Nelson was “visibly intoxicated” prior to leaving, point out Supreme Courtroom Justice Gerard Neri mentioned in his selection in March.

And just after interviews with several witnesses — which includes a priest who Nelson was owning evening meal with that evening — no one explained Nelson as visibly drunk, Neri wrote.

“…each individual one witness testified overwhelmingly” that Nelson did not appear drunk that night time, the choose dominated.

The lawsuit was brought by the woman, Ashkar, who experienced long-time period injuries in the crash. Nelson crossed the middle line of Buckley Highway and crashed into her car or truck, law enforcement claimed at the time.

Ashkar had hoped to maintain Attilio’s accountable for serving Nelson so substantially alcohol that he still left drunk. But that can only be confirmed by witnesses, and the choose claimed there only weren’t any witnesses to guidance that he appeared intoxicated.

Ashkar’s lawyers had hired an specialist who opined that Nelson was visibly intoxicated, based on descriptions by witnesses, police stories and the autopsy.

But the decide mentioned that none of the witnesses observed nearly anything that could basically be explained as visible intoxication. Ashkar is attractive Neri’s ruling, in hopes of reopening the lawsuit from Attilio’s.

At the time of the crash, Attilio’s was positioned on North Salina Avenue. The restaurant has since moved to Regency Tower, on James Street.

Employees writer Douglass Dowty can be reached at [email protected] or 315-470-6070.

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