A St. Francis High School student from Duluth, Minnesota who was hit by a drunk driver while walking along the road suffered a traumatic brain injury, a Duluth News Tribune article reported. The student, Alex Balluff, have brought a civil lawsuit against the driver, Julie Ann Gronski, Foster’s Sports Bar & Grill, and Runway Bar & Grill.
Balluff was hit from behind by Gronski’s vehicle on Halloween of 2009 while walking along Rice Lake Road in Duluth. The lawsuit alleges that boy was thrown into the windshield of the vehicle and fell to the ground as Gronski allegedly sped away from the scene of the accident, the article said.
In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the two bars are responsible for selling alcohol to Gronski when she was visibly drunk. The owners of both establishments deny any wrongdoing. Balluff seeks over $50,000 in damages from all three defendants in the case, the article noted. In a criminal trial against Gronski, the woman said she “drank a dozen beers and up to 15 shots of alcohol before getting behind the wheel of her Honda CRV.” She claims to not remember anything about the accident and that she thought she hit a deer.
Balluff endured a severe traumatic brain injury and serious bruises to his right kidney and his spleen, the article said. Balluff’s friend and fellow student, Nicholas Biser, was hit by the mirror of Gronski’s car and suffered an elbow injury.
Gronski was sentenced in criminal court last May to “nine months in jail, six years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service after pleading guilty to driving drunk,” the article reported. Balluff and his father are seeking the $50,000 to cover current and future medical bills related to his injuries. We will report on the outcome of the case as more information becomes available.
Stodghill, Mark. (September 8, 2010) “Victim sues drunk driver, two bars.” Retrieved on September 8, 2010 from the Duluth News Tribune website: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/178298/