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Strip club targeted in DUI death suit

Strip club targeted in DUI death suit

VALPARAISO: Deja Vu accused of overserving customer

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VALPARAISO | A civil lawsuit accuses the operators of the Deja Vu strip club in Lake Station of contributing to a fatal drunk driving accident by serving too much alcohol to the accused driver.

The suit, filed on behalf of the deceased, Orvilla Gerhardt, claims the strip club violated state law by serving alcohol to Jonathan Gaskill, 27, when it knew or should have known he was drunk.

This negligence by the club resulted in Gaskill driving drunk and then striking and killing Gerhardt Aug. 28 as the 82-year-old was retrieving her morning newspaper near her home at County Road 294 West 500 North.

The suit seeks an unspecified amount of money.

The owner of Deja Vu was unavailable for comment.

Attorney Robert Harper filed the suit on behalf of Gerhardt's estate. Harper said he is pursuing the suit under what are known as dram shop liability laws. These laws hold alcohol servers responsible for harm intoxicated patrons cause.

In the meantime, Gaskill faces 12 criminal counts stemming from the accident, including reckless homicide, various drunken driving charges, marijuana charges and possession of paraphernalia.

The Culver resident is set to stand trial Feb. 7 before Porter Superior Judge Bill Alexa.


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