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Lawsuit: Pub over-served man who died in 2011 crash

Erin Mulvane, Houston Chronicle
Updated 10:47 pm, Wednesday, January 16, 2013
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The children of a man who died in a car crash filed a lawsuit this week against Sherlock’s Baker Street Pub & Grill, the third recent suit claiming the establishment over-served patrons at various locations.

Lauren Whale and Stephen Wilhite, the children of Robert Wilhite, filed a petition Monday asking for damages in their father’s Aug. 13, 2011, death.

The lawsuit claims Baker Street continued to serve Wilhite alcohol, even though he was obviously intoxicated.

The suit states he left the bar drunk and drove his vehicle down Cypresswood Drive. He struck a raised curb, lost control of his vehicle and was ejected.

He died as a result of his injuries, the lawsuit states.

Wilhite’s children said the pub was negligent in giving their father alcohol.

Sherlock’s could not immediately be reached for comment.

Other recent cases

The Wilhite lawsuit follows similar complaints filed in March 2011 and November 2012.

Last year, Martinique Rubio filed suit alleging that Sherlock’s Clear Lake contributed to the June 2011 death of her husband, Mark Rubio. The suit states Rubio was served after he was intoxicated. His blood-alcohol content reached .30, which is 3½ times the legal limit for driving.

Rubio left the pub riding in the bed of a pickup. He fell out and was struck and killed by another vehicle, the complaint states.

At the time, attorneys for the pub denied the allegations.

In 2011, Delia Dee Jones sued Sherlock’s in the April 9, 2009, death of her daughter, Jessica Ayala, and son-in-law, Guillermo Ayala.

Allegations denied

The suit said Guillermo Ayala had been served in a Sherlock’s pub before losing control of his vehicle and smashing into a tree while driving with his wife on Texas 3.

The franchise also denied the allegations in this case.

Last year, a bartender at a Baker Street Pub in The Woodlands was arrested on charges of serving liquor to a man so drunk he was stumbling and yelling racial epithets.

A Houston Chronicle analysis in July of Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission enforcement records shows that criminal prosecutions against businesses or their employees for over-serving alcohol are rare.

For example, in Montgomery County, only eight criminal cases had been filed since 2007.