Alyza Rachel Russell, 22, was driving her mother’s car while intoxicated when she attempted to turn onto an intersecting street and lost control of the car. It jumped the curb, crashed through a hedge, and entered a parking lot, striking Samuel Artez Martindale, 35, and Mackendy Jules, 30. The car reportedly dragged Martindale a short distance. He was found in the wheel well beneath the vehicle. He died later the same day, survived by his mother. Jules was pronounced dead at the scene. He is survived by his parents.
Blood samples taken just after the incident showed that Russell’s blood-level alcohol was 0.17—more than twice the legal limit. She was arrested and charged with two counts of DUI manslaughter, among other charges. Her criminal case is pending.
The men’s estates claimed that Russell was negligent and grossly negligent for driving while intoxicated and losing control of the car. They also contended that Russell’s mother was vicariously liable as the car’s owner.
There were no claims for lost earnings.
The parties settled before suit was filed for $2.22 million. The insurer for Russell’s mother paid policy limits of $2 million, and Russell’s mother paid an additional $220,000—more than the statutory cap on vicarious liability. The division between the estates is confidential.
Citation: Jules v. Russell, Fla., settled before filing, Oct. 30, 2013.
Jules estate’s counsel: AAJ member James A. Hannon, Miami.
Martindale estate’s counsel: David A. Nunez, Miami.