The Diamonds Gentleman’s Club in West Chicago has reached a $1 million settlement in a law suit for its role in a deadly drunk driving accident. In January 2006, John Homatas and John Chiariello had gotten drunk at the club, and bouncers ejected the two after Homatas was found vomiting in the restroom. Club employees placed an intoxicated Homatas in his vehicle, and 15 minutes later he struck an SUV head-on. The crash killed 27-year old April Simmons, who was 8-months pregnant. Homatas’ passenger Chiariello, 25, was also killed.
The million dollars is the maximum of the club’s insurance policy. $800,000 of the settlement will be given to Simmons’ widow. The remainder will go to the Chiariello’s family. In a separate civil case, Homatas settled a $200,000 suit against him. The amount was the maximum of his insurance policy.
Diamonds does not serve alcohol so they contended that they were not responsible for Homatas’ actions and did not play a role in the accident. Patrons of the club, however, are allowed to bring in their own liquor, leading the Illinois State Supreme Court to rule last March that the club did have accountability in the Illinois DUI incident. That decision led to negotiations between the parties in the suit and the final settlement.
Homatas, 29, was convicted of aggravated driving under the influence in Illinois and reckless homicide in 2007. He is serving a 12-year prison sentence.
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