Widow Sues Bar Owner, Driver in DUI Death
Abbe Smith, New Haven Register
WEST HAVEN – A judge has ruled there is enough evidence in a lawsuit filed by the wife of a minister killed by a drunken wrong-way driver two years ago to warrant a freeze on the assets of the owner of the bar where the driver was allegedly served.
West Haven minister the Rev. Alan Broome died in the accident on Interstate 91 in February 2007. The driver of the vehicle that killed him, Israel Quintero of New Haven, is serving an eight-year prison sentence for vehicular manslaughter. His blood alcohol content was 0.230 percent, almost three times the legal driving limit of 0.08, according to court documents. He was sentenced in January 2008.
The victim’s wife, Renee Broome, filed a lawsuit a year ago in Superior Court in New Haven against Quintero, an illegal immigrant who did not have car insurance, and Saul Castro, who owned the Utopia Cafe in West Haven where Quintero had drinks before the accident.
A Superior Court judge recently issued a “prejudgment attachment” in the case for $250,000, the maximum amount allowed under Connecticut’s Dram Shop laws, according to Broome’s attorney, Jason E. Tremont of Bridgeport. Tremont explained the ruling puts a hold on $250,000, if Castro has that much, to pay Broome in the event a verdict favors her after a court hearing.
“Our office is trying to do everything we can to help the family through this tragedy,” Tremont said. “[Broome] has been through a horrible time. She had to move after the loss of her husband. It ruined her life, not just because the man she loved was killed, but also from a financial point of view.”
Broome could not be reached for comment.
Hamden attorney Alexander Scheirer, who is listed in court documents as Castro’s lawyer, did not return a phone call Friday seeking comment.
The lawsuit against Quintero is pending, although Tremont said he does not expect to recover much from Quintero because he did not have insurance at the time of the accident.
According to state police, Quintero was driving the wrong way on I-91 on Feb. 5, 2007, when his van struck Alan Broome’s car near Exit 13. Broome, 40, was pronounced dead at the scene and Quintero was hospitalized with serious injuries. Quintero was arrested after being discharged from the hospital.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Quintero left work at a deli on George Street in New Haven at about 11 p.m. Feb. 4. After a trip home, Quintero went back out and stopped at one spot for drinks before going to the Utopia Cafe where, according to the lawsuit, he was served drinks while appearing intoxicated.
The suit then alleges he left the bar and drove his van, while drinking more beer, before the fatal accident on I-91.