The family of a man killed by a drunken driver in Puyallup has filed a lawsuit against both the driver and the hotel where she’d been drinking.
Jose Luis Gonzalez-Olaguez was on his way home from work Feb. 8, when a truck ran a red light, and crashed into the 46-year-old’s vehicle.
He died at the scene, and the driver of the truck, 24-year-old Kayla Schmidt, is serving a 6 1/2-year sentence for the fatal wreck.
Gonzalez-Olaguez is survived by his 16-year-old daughter Nathalee Gonzalez, and her mother, Maria Luisa Lopez.
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They filed the lawsuit Aug. 15 in Pierce County Superior Court, seeking unspecified damages. The suit names both Schmidt and the Best Western Hotel in Auburn where she worked as a hotel clerk.
She’d been drinking there before the wreck, at a gathering supervised by the hotel, the lawsuit alleges.
It argues Schmidt was negligent in driving intoxicated and that the hotel was negligent in letting her.
“Best Western was aware of and facilitated Defendant Schmidt’s alcohol consumption, and thus is vicariously liable for the tragic death of Mr. Gonzalez-Olaguez,” the lawsuit reads. “... Schmidt was permitted to leave the Best Western hotel where she worked, and as a result, caused the collision.”
A Best Western spokeswoman said the company does not comment on pending litigation.
Attorney Evan Fuller, who is representing the family, said Nathalee had celebrated her 15th birthday with her father shortly before his death.
“She was very close to her father,” he said. “... She considered him her best friend.”