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After drinking in a tavern a drunk driver caused the death of a teenager in Vermont. Vermont law may hold the tavern responsible.

Shawn R. Burritt, 32 from Jericho Vermont appeared in Vermont District Court in Burlington to answer to charges that he drove the wrong way on Interstate 89 in Colchester on Saturday and collided with a vehicle, killing one of its passengers, Nicolas Fournier, 18, of West Swanton.

According to police reports, Burritt admitted to drinking “eight or nine” beers at the Spanked Puppy Pub in Colchester before driving his 1989 BMW Saturday night. Burritt made a left-hand turn from U.S. 7 and drove up the Exit 16 off-ramp onto Interstate 89, where he traveled southbound in the northbound lane.

In Vermont, not only can the drunk driver be held liable for the tragedy he caused, but if the evidence shows that the tavern he was drinking him, served him alcohol after he was visibly intoxicated the tavern may be liable as well.

This brings up a very important aspect of Vermont law. Laws that impose responsibility on those whose conduct leads to injury or death are designed to act as a deterrent to this kind of behavior. In this case taverns and other servers of alcohol should be on notice that if they continue to serve alcohol to someone already intoxicated and that person causes personal inury or death, they may be responsible. We hope that all responsible parties in this tragic case will be brought to justice. For the full story see the Burlington Free Press article.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Car and Motorcycle Accidents.

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