You might call it handicap auto racing. Servers at El Patio Mexican Grill & Cantina in Weatherford, Oklahoma, wagered Dave Megee $200 he couldn’t drive the 75 miles to Oklahoma City by a specified time. Dave’s handicap? He had downed twelve beers and five Tequila shots over the past few hours.
Two hundred dollars was a lot of money to Dave. And the straight roads of the Sooner State made driving pretty darn easy. He accepted the bet, got in his car, aimed it toward Oklahoma City, and hit the gas.
He got off to a good start, eating up the highway at speeds as high as 97 miles an hour. Unfortunately for Dave, the trip ended even faster than it began. He crashed into the rear end of a tractor-trailer with enough force to eject him from his car and send him through the air.
We can’t be sure whether Dave survived the impact of the of the car hitting the tractor-trailer, or of his body landing on the pavement. The issue was rendered moot when another automobile ran over him.
When the dust steeled, Dave had lost his life, and the bet along with it.
Dave’s mom, Nancy Carol Megee, sued for wrongful death on behalf of his estate, namingHer theories were that the defendants were liable (a) for overserving Dave (to put it mildly) and (b) for encouraging him to drive drunk with their $200 wager—a wager Dave was in no condition to evaluate competently. Call it negligent betting.
At first blush, Nancy Carol’s case may seem strong. Oklahoma has long had amaking restaurants liable to the victims of overserved drivers. And serving alcohol to an intoxicated person is prohibited by both the and In fact, that statute had already resulted in a one-year prison sentence for one of Dave’s servers. Nancy Carol’s argument was that if a dram shop is liable to the victim of an overserved driver, surely it should also be liable to the overserved driver.