James Ruiz has gone to court to blame the restaurants that served him booze and a friend who let him drive drunk before the 2010 crash in south Santa Fe that killed two teenage sisters from the Navajo reservation.
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday – precisely one day after the third anniversary of the fatal wreck in which Del Lynn Peshlakai, 19, and her sister Deshauna, 17, of Naschitti were killed – Ruiz seeks monetary damages from Applebee’s and the Blue Corn Cafe, as well as from drinking buddy Gilbert Mendoza.
Mendoza gave Ruiz the keys to the truck that Ruiz was driving when he rammed into the rear of the Peshlakai family’s car on Cerrillos Road.
Ruiz says that as a result of “causing and perceiving the motor vehicle crash and its effects upon everybody envolved (sic), the Plaintiff (Ruiz) suffered and continue (sic) to suffer emotional distress.”
The negligence of Mendoza and the restaurants who served him booze “was a cause and/or contributing cause of the Plaintiff’s severe emotional distress,” Ruiz’s suit adds.
Ruiz, a repeat drunken driver who was out on bond on his fifth DWI arrest when the fatal crash took place, filed the lawsuit himself without a lawyer. He’s serving a 40-year prison sentence after entering a guilty plea in 2011.
He maintains in his suit that he was “convicted and incarcerated due to the chain of events that the defendants” – the restaurants and Mendoza – “set in motion.” Ruiz says he “suffered and will continue to suffer from the emotional distress due to the loss of liberty and enjoyment of life.”
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