The Josh Hancock tragedy: who to sue?

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock was recently killed in a tragic automobile accident. You probably saw the story. Now, his father has (yeah, here comes the stunner) filed a lawsuit.

Suit claims restaurant kept giving intoxicated pitcher drinks
Associated Press
Updated: May 24, 2007, 4:14 PM ETST. LOUIS — The father of Josh Hancock filed suit Thursday, claiming a restaurant provided drinks to the St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher even though he was intoxicated prior to the crash that killed him.

The suit, filed in St. Louis Circuit Court by Dean Hancock of Tupelo, Miss., does not specify damages. Mike Shannon’s Restaurant, owned by the longtime Cardinals broadcaster who starred on three World Series teams in the 1960s, is a defendant in the case along with Shannon’s daughter, Patricia Shannon Van Matre, the restaurant manager. (Story.)

So, let’s make sure we have the scorebook right here. At the time he ran into a stopped tow truck, Hancock:

  • was speeding, doing 68 in a 55 mph zone;
  • was drunk, with a blood-alcohol level nearly twice Missouri’s legal limit of 0.08;
  • was on his way to another bar;
  • was talking on his cell phone;
  • was not wearing a seat belt;
  • had 8.55 grams of marijuana in the vehicle.

Reports indicate that he never even tried to stop.

According to the suit filed by Hancock’s father, the following people were responsible:

  • the restaurant owner;
  • the restaurant’s manager;
  • Eddie’s Towing;
  • Jacob Hargrove, the tow truck driver;
  • Justin Tolar, the driver whose stalled car on Interstate 64 was being assisted by Hargrove.

Those not responsible include:

  • the Cardinals
  • Major League Baseball

And, of course, Josh Hancock.

Sometimes the facts of a story sort of eliminate the need for editorial comment.

5 replies »

  1. Tony LaRussa, the biggest drunk and steroid promoter on the Club.

    LaRussa has a legacy of doped players.

  2. I heard Dan Patrick hold forth on this issue yesterday – I could not believe what I was hearing – and mostly Dan was just offering the facts.

    I’m sorry the father lost his son – hell, I’d be a basket case if I lost one of mine – but suing people to excuse his son’s utter disregard for his own life and those of the others he endangered is unconscionable.

    This is about a father trying to deflect blame from his son and himself and rationalize his failures in helping his son with his addictions.

    I can’t decide if it’s more disgusting or sad….

  3. My husband and I were talking about this last night: how responsible is the party serving alcohol if someone leaves and gets in a deadly DUI?

    I remembered that in Stuart, Fla., parents who had a party where there was underage drinking won a lawsuit claiming they were responsible for teens who left and then died in a DUI crash.

    Obviously bars serve drunk people all the time. I know *I’ve* seen plenty of drunk people in bars. And it’s not like it’s hard to prove, with time-stamped credit card receipts and all that. So why is it that there aren’t more of these suits? Not sure why, but they just dont’ seem to stick. (Note: The above was an intellectual question only. I think these suits are guilt-dodging crap.)

  4. Or maybe MLB has a steroid and polypharmacy pademic and alcohol is a masking drug? Ya think?

    I recommend we sue Disney Holdings/ESPN/ABC and George Mitchell as the fund and audit baseball.

    Obviously they are wholly responsible for its content.