A New Jersey man whose DWI was mishandled by police and thrown out in court is suing the bars that served him before he was injured in a drunken motorcycle crash.
If it sounds like a strange story, it is.
According to the New York Post, Antonio Salomon-Merlino of Carlstadt, New Jersey, spent a late night in July 2015 drinking at two bars.
The first, Oh! Calamares in Kearny, served him $300 worth of tequila and Pisco sours all evening, before he drove his motorcycle to Hector’s Sports Bar in Clifton, where he continued to drink until nearly 3:00 in the morning.
He finally left to head to a friend’s house to sleep it off, but around 3:15, he crashed his 2009 Suzuki motorcycle on Outwater Lane in Lodi, sustaining significant injuries to his leg.
Salomon-Merlino was transported to a hospital and charged with DWI, but his blood alcohol level wasn’t tested for nearly five hours.
At that point, the test result came back as .078, just a hair below the .08% threshold.
The DWI charge was dismissed, but Salomon-Merlino’s medical drama was just getting started.
Since the accident, he’s had three surgeries on his leg, including a knee reconstruction, as well as skin grafts. He has trouble walking and even driving, and anticipates additional surgeries ahead.
His lawsuit is based on an interesting theory of New Jersey’s Dram Shop Law, which gives standing to anyone who is injured by a drunk driver to sue the establishments that served them alcohol if they reasonably believed the driver was intoxicated.
Salomon-Merlino claims that the bars he visited that night should have known that he was intoxicated, and that his injuries entitle him – the victim of his own drunk driving accident – to damages under the law.
It’s an interesting theory of the case, and if the suit proceeds, the bars are likely to argue that the police’s blood alcohol results indicate that he wasn’t drunk.
One thing the story does show is that police are perfectly able to botch a DWI case and that police evidence in a DUI case isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be.
An experienced DWI attorney can make a big difference in your case.
If you’ve been charged with DWI in New Jersey, call Matthew Reisig today at 732-625-9660 for a free consultation with an experienced New Jersey DWI defense lawyer.