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Woman sues Garland officer, bar that served him alcohol over New Year’s crash

Louis Jerel Ellis was arrested on suspicion of intoxication assault with a vehicle after the incident.

Justice
File photo.(Andy Jacobsohn / Staff Photographer)

By Krista M. Torralva

A pedestrian who was severely injured in a New Year’s Day crash in Farmers Branch is suing the police officer accused of driving into her and a bar that served him alcohol.

Lawyers for Ja’meka Brown, 26, said they filed a lawsuit Friday against Garland police Officer Louis Jerel Ellis, 32, and Cafe 214, a restaurant and bar in Addison. The lawsuit, which did not appear in online court records Saturday, seeks more than $1 million in damages.

A lawyer for Ellis and representatives for Cafe 214 did not respond to requests for comment.

Ellis’ intoxication level was more than two times the state’s legal limit to drive, according to the lawsuit, when he struck Brown about 2:30 a.m. Jan. 1 near the intersection of Inwood Road and Galleria Drive.

Brown was on a sidewalk when Ellis drove over a curb and hit her, the lawsuit says. He continued driving onto a grassy median and came to a stop when he struck a large concrete light pole base.

Ellis was arrested on a charge of intoxication assault with a vehicle. Court records show he has not been indicted on that charge, and the status of the case is unclear.

Garland police placed him on administrative leave while Farmers Branch police investigated.

The lawsuit alleges employees of Cafe 214 served Ellis ”an extraordinarily excessive amount of alcohol.” His intoxication should have been apparent to servers, according to the lawsuit, and the wreck was “foreseeable.”

“Cafe 214′s license to serve alcohol in the state of Texas is a privilege, but with that privilege comes responsibilities,” said lawyer Quentin Brogdon, who is representing Brown, in a written statement. “We believe the evidence will show that Cafe 214 violated its responsibility to ensure that it didn’t overserve Officer Ellis to the point that he became a danger to himself and others.”

On a GoFundMe page set up shortly after the wreck, Brown’s mother wrote that she had been thrown more than 20 feet by the crash and had a number of broken bones, including her femur, ribs and pelvis, as well as damage on her kidneys and lungs.

Brown’s injuries are expected to cause her lifelong suffering, according to the lawsuit.

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