Andrea Bettencourt, age 53 of Montville, was headed home from work at Integrated Dermatology in Groton on January 14, 2016 when a drunk driver suddenly came over the center line on Route 12 in Ledyard slamming into her Mazda head-on, totaling both cars and severely injuring Bettencourt.
The drunk driver, Mose Jones of Groton, was killed in the crash. He had been drinking at the Mohegan Sun Casino and had left the Casino shortly before the accident. Video surveillance on the Casino property showed that Jones had struck a parked car in the Casino parking lot at 5:27pm, about 15 minutes before the accident. Jones had a blood alcohol reading of .39 upon autopsy.
Ms. Bettencourt was extracted from her car and taken by ambulance to Backus Hospital. Due to the seriousness of her injuries she was life-starred to Hartford Hospital where she remained for 5 days. She was then transferred to Three Rivers Rehabilitation Center where she remained for 27 days. She sustained fractures of her left leg and femur, rib fractures, punctured lung, spinal fractures, a cervical fracture, facial and head fractures and hearing loss. After a long recovery and multiple surgeries, she has made progress towards recovery but she will not return to work due to her life-changing disabilities.
The Reardon Law Firm, P.C. of New London represented Ms. Bettencourt in a lawsuit brought in the New London Superior Court against the Estate of Mose Jones and the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority alleging that Jones drove his car while intoxicated and that the Casino recklessly dispensed liquor to Jones in the High Rollers Bar at the Casino causing him to become highly intoxicated. A separate lawsuit was also filed in the Mohegan Tribal Court against the Tribal Gaming Authority alleging its reckless dispensing of liquor to Jones. The Superior Court lawsuit has now been settled with Jones Estate for $1.45 million, virtually all of the liability insurance covering Jones. The claims brought against the Tribal Gaming Authority in the Superior Court and the Tribal Court are still pending and will proceed to trial.
According to Attorney Robert Reardon of The Reardon Law Firm, this horrible crash demonstrates just how tragic the results can be when bars serve excessive amounts of liquor to patrons, knowing that the patron will then be getting behind the wheel of a car. This scenario is ever more likely to occur when the patron is in the High Rollers bar at the Casino, as Mr. Jones was, and is not paying for each drink. “It is fortunate that Andrea Bettencourt survived this crash and has made a good recovery from her devastating injuries, although she continues to face future medical treatment. Our firm is pleased that we were able to assist her through this very difficult period and obtain some compensation that she needs to help her to carry on with her life”, according to Attorney Robert Reardon.