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Woman sues Athens bar and UGA students for son’s DUI death

Michael Kitchen

By Joe Johnson

A bar in downtown Athens and four University of Georgia students have been sued by a woman whose son was killed by a drunk driver.

Michael Jerrell Kitchen, 34, was fatally struck by a car on West Broad Street early the morning of April 30.

The driver left the scene without ever stopping, police said, and when he was later located the 21-year-old University of Georgia student admitted that he’d been drinking at the Cloud Athens nightclub on East Clayton Street.

Benhur Tafai was arrested for DUI, first-degree homicide by vehicle, and leaving the scene of an accident with serious injury.

Filed May 28 in Clarke County Superior Court, the lawsuit names as defendants Tesfai and three other UGA students who had been passengers in his car. They are liable for negligence for failing to “intervene, obstruct, or otherwise prohibit” Tesfai from driving, the lawsuit alleges.

Benhur Tesfai

Cloud Athens has been sued because its bartenders or servers allegedly were aware that Tesfai was intoxicated and would be driving upon leaving the nightclub,

The lawsuit seeks a trial and judgement in the monetary value of Kitchen’s life to be established plus punitive damages in an amount to be determined by the jury.

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10 commentaires


In times of horrible loss, many of us will attempt to grasp some branch to hold on to. Suing the bar may have two purposes. First you want to have some sort of response to your son's tragic death. Second, you want to hold someone responsible for your loss. We all know that money sways some survivor's response, but I'm giving this lady the benefit of the doubt myself. RIP

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En réponse à

She could be doing this to make sure it doesn’t happen to someone else’s child too. And if she didn’t have life insurance on her child or enough in savings to bury him, then this money could help her in that way. My point is, however, why speculate what anyone does in their time of grief?

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Mr Kitchen appears to be more valuable dead than alive.

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Lisa Mende
Lisa Mende
6 days ago
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Oh it’s just auntie’s first reading from their Visualize Bile Meditations right there there next their Ayn Rand on tape collection .

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BS Detector
BS Detector
6 days ago

Every bar ought to be sued then........

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En réponse à

It’s illegal in the state of Georgia to serve someone that is already intoxicated. There is also a Third Party Liability Law that allows bars/restaurants to be held accountable for drunk drivers. Especially if someone is injured or killed. Even if someone gets a DUI, the establishment can be held accountable too.

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