Crash victim sues drunk driver, tavern

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A Millstadt mother of two who was injured in a January crash south of Hecker is suing a Red Bud man and a Hecker business for their alleged roles in the incident.

The five-count lawsuit filed by Amanda N. Johnson, 26, of Millstadt, lists Stefan D. Bauer, 21, of Red Bud, the farming operation of Kloepper’s Hilltop Trust B and Back Street Wine & Dine of Hecker as defendants.

The crash occurred shortly after 10:45 p.m. Jan. 3 on Route 159 about one-half mile south of Sunset Lane, Illinois State Police said.

ISP said a 1998 Chevrolet S10 driven by Bauer was traveling south on Route 159 when it left the roadway to the right, overcorrected and crossed into oncoming traffic, colliding head-on with a 2012 Nissan Altima driven by Johnson, which was traveling north.

Both drivers were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, according to ISP’s crash report.

Bauer was later charged with felony aggravated DUI (accident/bodily harm). He has entered a plea of not guilty to the charge in Monroe County Circuit Court.

According to Johnson’s suit, Bauer was driving the truck as an agent or employee of Kloepper’s Hilltop Trust B and negligently operated the vehicle by being intoxicated, driving at a higher than reasonable speed and driving in the wrong lane.

Count I of her lawsuit seeks a judgement in excess of $50,000 against Kloepper’s Hilltop Trust B.

Count II of the lawsuit seeks a similar judgment against Bauer individually for his actions.

The next three counts of the filing are against Back Street Wine & Dine, located at 310 E. Back Street in Hecker.

Count II alleges that Bauer “consumed alcoholic beverages therein and as a result became intoxicated” at Back Street Wine & Dine prior to the crash, thus violating the Dram Shop Act. Johnson seeks a judgment sum of $71.696.18 against the business.

The final two counts seek $87,628.66 each from the Hecker establishment for Johnson’s two children, ages 2 and 4, who “by reason of injuries sustained by mother, suffered the loss of (their) means of support.”

Johnson is being represented in this case by Belleville attorney Brad L. Badgley.

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