By Duane Bourne
VIRGINIA BEACH – The father of one of two teens killed in a March crash that police say was caused by a drunken driver has filed a $10 million lawsuit against a restaurant that served the man alcohol and allowed him to drive.
In the lawsuit, David Kunhardt claimed that Ensenada Mexican Restaurant failed to protect Alison Kunhardt from imminent danger and essentially acted as Alfredo Ramos’ accomplice for not stopping the events that killed his daughter and her close friend.
“Ensenada knowingly participated and furthered this crime by continuing to serve him alcohol and is equally responsible,” according to the suit.
Filed in Circuit Court on Friday on behalf of Alison Kunhardt’s estate, the lawsuit requests a jury trial and compensatory damages of more than $7 million. Attorney Louis Joynes II did not return two telephone calls seeking comment.
“Ramos was being served alcohol, and he is only half responsible,” David Kunhardt said Monday. “This is going to be a tough fight.”
Alison Kunhardt, 17, and Tessa Tranchant, 16, were killed shortly after 10 p.m. on March 30 when a Mitsubishi plowed into the back of their Plymouth as they waited for a green light at Kings Grant Road and Virginia Beach Boulevard.
Ramos was charged with aggravated involuntary manslaughter following the crash and is scheduled to appear in Virginia Beach Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court on June 26.
Police said a combination of speed and alcohol led to the crash. Ramos has a history of alcohol-related convictions in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, which were misdemeanors. That record includes a conviction this year for drunken driving in Chesapeake.
The 22-year-old man born in Mexico of Guatemalan parents also is in the country illegally.
Ramos’ immigration status and questions of why his previous convictions did not result in his deportation fueled a nationwide furor over illegal immigration. One television personality called Virginia Beach a “sanctuary” for illegal immigrants.
The lawsuit also alleges that Ramos, a waiter at another Mexican restaurant near his home on Bonney Road, had already committed the crime of being drunk in public because he was intoxicated before he arrived at Ensenada.
Workers at the restaurant have said they knew Ramos was intoxicated. But employees continued to sell him alcohol for three hours, although he could not present proper identification, the suit said.
Although the restaurant has denied the allegations, David Kunhardt said witnesses have alleged Ramos was drinking there.
“If somebody is already drunk, they should not serve them,” David Kunhardt said. “They should get them a cab.”
When reached at the restaurant, manager Rogelio Perez declined to comment on pending litigation.