19-year-old Sidney Odom happily went along when 20-year-old Travis Kirby and 18-year-old Riley Strickland asked “Who wants to go to the Beacon?”—a bar in Terry, Mississippi. A long night of drinking and driving came to an end at about 3 am when Kirby’s Camaro hit a tree at about 90 mph. As none of the three were wearing seatbelts, all were ejected from the vehicle. Kirby, whose blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit at 0.25%, died at the scene; the other two were injured.
Since we’re talking about the case, you can guess that the three blamed everyone except the underage drunk drivers: in this case, the car seller, the tire installer, and the tire manufacturer, Goodyear Tires. The car seller settled for about half a million dollars; a Copiah County jury found the other defendants liable for an additional $2.1 million. Goodyear appealed, complaining about various prejudicial statements made by the plaintiffs’ attorneys, such as introducing evidence from other lawsuits about other types of tires, but the Mississippi state appellate court affirmed. (Holbrook Mohr, “Miss. court agrees tire, not alcohol caused crash”, AP/Washington Post, Apr. 22; Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Kirby (Miss. App. 2009)).