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Father sues Missoula bars over daughter's death
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Father sues Missoula bars over daughter's death

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A father is suing the man who killed his daughter while driving drunk, as well as the bars that served the driver that night.

Merced Romero is the father of Rebecca Romero, who died in 2018 at the age of 22 after being hit by Daniel Grady. Grady was later sentenced to 10 years in Montana State Prison, followed by 20 years of probation for negligent homicide and failure to remain at the scene of an accident.

Now, Merced Romero is arguing that several Missoula bars failed to refuse service to Grady and his friends that evening, despite them being turned away at other bars because of the “group’s visible signs of intoxication,” according to a lawsuit Merced Romero filed in June.

Romero is suing the Fox Club Cabaret, the Savoy Night Owl Casino and Liquor Store, and the downtown bar Charlie B’s. Also named in the lawsuit are Grady and two people Merced Romero believes were in the truck when Grady hit Rebecca Romero. Merced Romero also believes these passengers, Braden Babb and Dylan McClain, owned the truck Grady was driving.

Savoy filed a response to Merced Romero’s complaint denying some of the allegations, while acknowledging the bar did serve Grady, Babb and McClain that evening. Charlie B’s and the Fox Club also denied the allegations against them.

McClain wrote in response to the lawsuit that he was not in Missoula that evening, and denied he was in the truck when Rebecca Romero was hit. He also did not own the truck, he wrote.

Babb has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit.

Missoula attorney Paul Ryan is representing Merced Romero. The case is in Missoula District Judge Leslie Halligan’s court.

Grady was 26 years old when he was arrested in June 2018 for his role in Rebecca Romero’s death. 

Merced Romero’s lawsuit retraced what Grady was doing in the hours before Rebecca Romero’s death on June 16, 2018. Grady, McClain and Babb went to several bars that evening, including Savoy Casino and Liquor Store, where about 11:15 p.m. Savoy employees asked the group to leave because they showed “visible signs of intoxication,” according to the complaint.

About 11:30 p.m., the group arrived at the Oxford Saloon and Cafe, where the group was refused service, according to the complaint.

Grady, Babb and McClain as well as a fourth friend then went to Charlie B’s. The group was served a pitcher of beer, which they finished before they left, according to the complaint. At 12:10 a.m., the group arrived at Fox Club where they were again served alcohol. About an hour later, the Fox Club asked the group to leave, according to the complaint.

“Between 9:59 p.m. and 1:09 a.m., Grady was recorded purchasing and consuming at least 10 alcoholic beverages,” according to the complaint.

Grady collided with Rebecca Romero about 2 a.m. on June 17, 2018, while she was crossing Phillips Street near Lowell School. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Merced Romero argues in his lawsuit that Babb and McClain contributed to his daughter’s death by allowing their truck to be driven by someone who was under the influence and who did not have a valid driver’s license. The bars named in the suit also contributed to Rebecca Romero’s death by not refusing to serve alcohol to Grady, Babb and McClain, according to the lawsuit.

Merced Romero asked for an unspecified amount in damages.

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