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Mother of Utah DUI victim suing Saltair for $1 million

Published October 2, 2013 2:29 pm

Courts • Lawsuit claims bartenders over-served driver.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The mother of a West Jordan man killed in a drunken driving crash is suing the Great Saltair, claiming bartenders there over served the driver, who then was forced to flee the parking lot as the crowd got out of hand after a Megadeth concert in December.

Joshua Wallace, 22, and his friend Jacob C. Jensen, 28, attended the concert at the Magna music hall Dec. 1, according to a lawsuit filed in 3rd District Court on Tuesday by Wallace's mother, Tanya Wallace.

The suit alleges the two men were sober when they arrived, but police later found they had smoked marijuana and had blood alcohol levels nearly three times the legal limit.

"Even though Jensen and [Wallace] were visibly intoxicated, Saltair employees continued to provide alcohol," the lawsuit claims.

After the concert, Jensen and Wallace "saw aggressive and violent behavior" break out in the parking lot, the suit alleges. They got into Wallace's Jeep Grand Cherokee, where Wallace passed out in the backseat, with the car keys in his lap.

Before he fell asleep, Wallace gave Jensen permission to drive the car out of the parking lot "to get them out of the threatening situation," the lawsuit states.

In previous court proceedings, Tanya Wallace has said her son told Jensen they could wait on the other side of the road for a relative to pick them up.

Instead, Jensen drove south on State Road 202. He lost control of the truck near the intersection with State Road 101; Wallace was thrown from the car and died at the scene.

The lawsuit claims Saltair was responsible for over serving the men and in failing to secure the parking lot afterward. The suit seeks at least $1 million in punitive damages.

Saltair did not respond Wednesday to a request by The Tribune for comment.

Jensen pleaded guilty this summer to automobile homicide and was sentenced to one year in prison.

Tanya Wallace spoke in Jensen's defense at his sentencing Sept. 9, saying that her son "would forgive Jacob and wouldn't wish any more pain on him than he's already suffered."

However, the lawsuit also names Jensen as a defendant and seeks punitive damages "in an amount to be proved at trial."

ealberty@sltrib.com