Thursday, December 21, 2017

Family gets $2 million settlement in fatal drunk driving lawsuit

Relatives of a St. Louis man and infant killed last year in a DWI crash have settled a lawsuit against the drunken driver and the Grove bar where he drank before getting behind the wheel.

The $2.2 million settlement approved Tuesday by St. Louis Circuit Judge Jason Sengheiser says insurance policies for Atomic Cowboy and Eric Wolf will pay relatives of Antwon Jones, 40, and his 2-month-old daughter, Scarlett Rose Jones. Both were killed in March 2016 when Wolf rear-ended them at Vandeventer and McRee avenues. Wolf was speeding at least 70 mph when he hit Jones’ Subaru.

Antwon Jones, 40, of St. Louis, was killed along with his 2-month-old daughter, Scarlett Rose Jones, by a drunken driver in St. Louis. Photo courtesy of family

Wolf, who turned 31 on Tuesday, was sentenced in September to three years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter. Wolf, who lived in the 200 block of Bellerive Boulevard in St. Louis, also received five years’ probation.

The lawsuit claimed Atomic Cowboy, at 4140 Manchester Avenue, served Wolf alcohol despite him being “visibly intoxicated.” Wolf then drove his car while intoxicated and crashed.

When police arrested Wolf, he declined an officer’s request for a blood sample, so police obtained a search warrant to get one. Court documents said Wolf’s blood-alcohol content was 0.12 percent — 50 percent over the legal limit — “several hours after the accident.”

The $2.2 million settlement is being split evenly between Antwon Jones’ fiancĂ©e, Terherrah Givens, who is the mother of Scarlett Rose, and five biological relatives of Jones. Atomic Cowboy’s insurance policy will pay $2 million; Wolf’s policy will pay $200,000. Lawyers for Givens will receive about $372,000 of Givens’ payout; lawyers for Jones’ relatives will get about $434,000 of their sum.

Sengheiser asked relatives in court Tuesday if they thought the settlement was fair, and they said they did.

At the end of the hearing, Sengheiser approved the settlement, pronounced it “fair and reasonable,” and offered his condolences.