Parents sue restaurant for providing alcohol to drunk driver in deadly crash

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Cathy Hocking and Perry Richardson are suing Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers and the State of Arizona over the wrong-way crash that killed their daughters. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Cathy Hocking and Perry Richardson are suing Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers and the State of Arizona over the wrong-way crash that killed their daughters. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers on Happy Valley Rd. is where Keaton Allison, the drunk driver who killed the Richardson sisters, got his blood alcohol level to three times the legal limit. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers on Happy Valley Rd. is where Keaton Allison, the drunk driver who killed the Richardson sisters, got his blood alcohol level to three times the legal limit. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Kelsey and Karli Richardson were killed in a wrong-way crash that involved a drunk driver in April 2017. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Kelsey and Karli Richardson were killed in a wrong-way crash that involved a drunk driver in April 2017. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
"I will never let my children die in vain," Hocking said. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) "I will never let my children die in vain," Hocking said. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The parents of two sisters who were killed in a wrong-way crash more than a year ago in Phoenix have filed suit against the restaurant where the drunk driver got his alcohol.

Mom Cathy Hocking and dad Perry Richardson say Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers on Happy Valley Road is liable for the deaths of their daughters Kelsey and Karli Richardson because nobody stopped serving drinks to Keaton Allison when they should have. Allison was the drunk driver who also died in the wrong-way crash. His blood-alcohol level was .25, three times the legal limit.

The crash happened in April 2017 on Interstate 17 near Greenway Road in Phoenix. Those sisters were just 20 and 18 years old – the older was just days away from graduation at Grand Canyon University.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Wrong-way driver hits, kills sisters on I-17 in Phoenix (April 14, 2017)]

The lawsuit says Allison had had enough alcohol “to become obviously intoxicated” and that a "reasonable employee at the bar knew or should have known he was intoxicated.”

"If normal people can see it, everyone can see it. And you know you pay attention to that," Hocking said via FaceTime.

[RELATED: Bartender charged with serving 11 beers to man before deadly crash in Houston]

[SPECIAL SECTION: Wrong-way drivers]

The official complaint goes on to say that Mellow Mushroom continued “furnishing, serving or selling” alcohol to Allison after he was clearly drunk. Another page points blame at 29 Holdings, LLC -- the company that owns the restaurant -- saying Arizona law requires them to train employees to notice when a patron is drunk, to monitor how much people are drinking and to intervene if someone has clearly had too much.

[RELATED: Victims named in I-17 wrong way crash]

"I feel it could have been prevented. I really believe it could have been prevented," Hocking said.

An investigation by the state’s Department of Liquor Licenses and Control also found violations by Mellow Mushroom, including selling alcohol to a drunk person and having a drunk person on the premises for 30 minutes. There’s also a complaint in the suit against the State of Arizona, saying it took too long for officers to stop the wrong-way driver and that the spot where he got on the freeway was designed poorly.

[RELATED: Mom of GCU student killed in wrong-way crash accepts daughter's diploma]

Hocking says the lawsuit doesn’t heal her wounds, but she feels like filing it was part of her job as a mother.

"I will never let my children die in vain," she said. "I don’t want it to happen to another mother. I’m telling you it is not the life you want to live.”

[RELATED: Legislators propose tough laws to stop wrong-way crashes]

Arizona's Family reached out to 29 Holdings, LLC and they told us it would be foolish for them to make a comment on pending litigation. Attorneys for the victims’ parents sent a settlement offer to the restaurant. That offer expires on May 19.

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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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