The families of two 16-year olds killed last month in an alleged DUI accident have each filed a $1 million lawsuit Aug. 28 against the teenage driver and gas station clerk charged in connection with their deaths.
Alma and Fransisco Gomez, filed the lawsuit against Clayton Jaggar Smith’s family and Humble Handi Stop Employee Gumaro Munoz Campos on the same day Tina and Nico Robinson filed a suit against Smith’s guardian Shelly Smith and Campos.
While Smith has been charged with intoxication manslaughter, Munoz is charged with one count of selling alcohol to a minor, a misdemeanor, by the Harris County District Attorney’s office.
Like the Robinson family, the Gomez family is suing Campos, the Smith family and the gas station for past and future pecurinary loss, past and future loss of companionship and society, past and future mental anguish and the loss of inheritence.
According to the Robinson family’s lawsuit, on July 24 at 10:45 p.m. Smith entered the Handi Stop gas station and purchased four bottles of Mad-Dog 20/20 from Campos, who was the only on-duty store clerk.
Campos failed to verify Smith’s age by not requesting to see valid identification, according to the suit. Smith was able to purchase the alcohol without showing any identification and left the store.
Within the next hour, the teenager got behind the wheel of his Nissan Altima where Chloe Robinson sat in the backseat and Salma Gomez sat in the front passenger seat. Smith was also driving twice the speed limit, according to investigators. Robinson and Gomez both died after the crash.
Robert Barrington, Webster Law Firm attorney, is representing the Gomez family. Barrington said the deaths of Salma and Chloe were preventable.
“The minor was driving the vehicle and so therefore you have to bring a lawsuit against the Smiths,” Barrington said.
TABC Public Information Officer Chris Porter said the gas station received a violation on July 26, 2012 for $2,400 for selling alcohol to a minor that was later paid off in September of that year.
Porter said the TABC is still investigating the matter.
“The message is really that sellers of alcohol have a responsibility not to sell to minors for this specific reason,” Barrington said. “This is a family’s worst nightmare, for all the children involved. Sellers of alcohol should be held accountable in these types of situations.”
Smith’s attorney, Chip Lewis, has yet to respond to a request for comment.
Randy Sorrels, partner at the Abraham Watkins Law firm, is representing the Robinson family.
Sorrels said they were able to identify the store’s failure to identify Smith’s age through the Harris County District Attorney’s investigation and after interviews with several students in the area.
“We’ve followed the district attorney’s work that’s been done, and we’ve talked to some of the students that commonly went to that same store,” Sorrels said.
Sorrels said the Robinson family filed this lawsuit to send a message to the community.
“For this gas station I think the message has been delivered by the district attorney’s office and certainly this lawsuit, but I think they want service stations and businesses who sell alcohol to take notice that you’re going to be held responsible for serving a minor (alcohol) when that minor goes out and causes injury and damage after drinking the alcohol you sell to them. You can’t put profits over safety,” Sorrels said.
Sorrels doesn’t expect this to go to trial for a year.