Couple awarded $1.7 million in drunk driving crash - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Couple awarded $1.7 million in drunk driving crash

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Matthew and Meredith Eastridge are still haunted by the scene of the crash they were in two years ago.

"Our worlds were changed and they were changed forever and our son is never coming back," said Matthew.

The couple was riding along Providence road when they were hit head on by a drunk driver on October 29, 2010.

The driver, 25-year-old David Huffman, died at the scene.

But the story didn't end there -- the couple was hospitalized for two months with serious injuries.

Meredith who was six months pregnant at the time,  lost their unborn son, Eli.

 

"He was our first child and we were so excited to have a little boy on the way," said Meredith.

The couple fought back and sued the restaurant,Eddie's Place, for over serving Huffman alcohol before the accident.

Security video from the restaurant shows him stumbling at the bar just hours before.

The bartender served him at least 8 drinks within 2 hours.

Investigators say his blood alcohol level was .23,  nearly 3 times the legal limit.

"These things can be prevented and hopefully today we're taking steps in the right direction to where bars will stand up and take notice, hey we need to train our staffs," said Matthew.

On Wednesday, a jury awarded the couple $1.7 million in damages. 

They now have an 8-month old daughter named Sloane, but their joy is bittersweet.

"I know we kind of look healthy today, but underneath our clothes it tells a very different story," said Matthew.

The couple donated $5000 to Mother's Against Drunk Driving (MADD) as a tribute to the son they lost.

"We're hopeful that a verdict such as this will make changes in our community," said Meredith.

Rick Pinto, an attorney for Eddie's place, says they are disappointed in the verdict.

He maintains the ABC board concluded the bar did not violate any rules.

He also says off duty bar employees planned to drive Huffman home the night of the accident, but he left without telling anyone.

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