Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mother of teen killed in crash sues liquor store, homeowner

Tyler Clark, 17, of Valrico, died Oct. 7, 2006, in an accident after he had been drinking.

Tyler Clark, 17, of Valrico, died Oct. 7, 2006, in an accident after he had been drinking.

VALRICO — The mother of a 17-year-old killed in a crash two years ago is suing the store that she says sold alcohol to her underage son.

Denise Clark, mother of Tyler Clark, is also suing the woman who owns the house where Tyler drank with friends on Oct. 7, 2006, before driving away in his open-top Jeep with seven other teens. The Jeep hit a median on Bloomingdale Avenue, swerved off the road and struck a tree. Tyler was dead at the scene.

In April, Tara McEntarffer was found not guilty of supplying alcohol to minors, a misdemeanor.

Several of the teens testified that she broke up the party when she came home and found the teens drinking beer.

The judge based his decision on a 1995 Florida Supreme Court ruling that shields adults from liability if they terminate a party and order guests to leave.

But the civil complaint, filed Sept. 9, says Tyler drank with McEntarffer's "knowledge and consent" and that she knew he was going to drive intoxicated. Denise Clark's attorney, Chris Kavouklis, said that's partly based on one witness who testified in April that McEntarffer sat and talked while the teens drank.

"I think we have a strong case that she was, at the very least, negligent," Kavouklis said.

During the April trial, Assistant State Attorney Kimberly Low argued that it wasn't enough for McEntarffer to break up the house party.

She needed to make sure each teen got home safely, Low said, but the judge did not agree that it was her legal responsibility.

Still, Denise Clark and Kavouklis are trying that angle in the civil case. The complaint states at McEntarffer allowed Tyler to leave the house without taking any steps to ensure his safety even though "she knew or should have known that Tyler Clark would operate his motor vehicle intoxicated and under the influence of alcohol."

Clark is seeking more than $15,000 in damages from McEntarffer and the Brandon store that she says sold Tyler alcohol, Beverage Express.

The lawsuit states that a Beverage Express employee either looked at Tyler's driver's license, which showed he was 17, or should have requested it because he looked young. Still, they let him purchase a "significant amount of alcohol," the complaint states.

There was another teen in the store with Tyler, but Kavouklis declined to identify that person or give specifics about the alleged beverage store incident.

An autopsy found that Tyler was driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.10 percent — above the 0.08 legal limit.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2443.

Mother of teen killed in crash sues liquor store, homeowner 10/02/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 7, 2008 2:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pasco tax roll shows increase, but so, too, are budget requests

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County's tax roll grew by more than 5 percent in 2016, but it's a figure that likely would require local government budget writers to trim proposed spending requests.

    OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
New construction accounted for $693.5 million in taxable property values being added to the Pasco County tax rolls in 2016, according to preliminary estimates released by Property Appraiser Gary Joiner. Overall, the property tax roll grew more than 5 percent, according to the preliminary numbers.

  2. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  3. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  4. Analysis: Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared

    World

    LONDON — For Britain's security agencies, London always seemed like the likely target. For years, the capital of 8 million with hundreds of thousands of weekly tourists and dozens of transit hubs had prepared for and feared a major terror attack.

  5. Dade City man dies after crashing into county bus, troopers say

    Public Safety

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A 38-year-old man died Tuesday after colliding into the rear of a county bus on U.S. 301, the Florida Highway Patrol said.