In early July Madeline Rackley, Danielle Martinez and Ryan Whittington were riding in the car around 2 a.m. Driver, Madeline Rackley drove her car down a boat ramp into Lady Bird Lake. Ryan drowned in the car.
Coverage of the deadly crash circulated nationwide. Reports showed that two Austin police officers were writing reports nearby, and their dash cams caught footage of the deadly event.
Ryan was a long time friend of Rackley, who had pleaded no contest in a 2009 drunk driving charge. The family of Whittington would have had every right to pursue justice for their loss.
However according to reports the family only wished that Rackley’s punishment only do the most amount of good for her dangerous drinking habits. In this case, the Whittington family chose did choose to pursue a civil suit against the bar they were drinking at before the accident.
Texas Dram Shop laws came into play when the Whittington’s pursued a civil suit against the owners of the Lustre Pearl bar, which was located on Rainey Street at that time. An investigation by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission found that the Lustre Pearl over-served Rackley.
The bar paid a $40,000 fine, and has been limited on the kinds of drink specials they can offer. They are also required to have enough staff to monitor how much their customers drink.