SALEM — The family of a young Danvers man killed when the car he was riding in struck the back of a flatbed tow truck on Boston Street in Salem last month has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against both the allegedly drunken driver of the car he was in and the towing company that owns the truck.
The lawsuit, filed late last week in Salem Superior Court by attorneys for the estate of Dillon Renard, alleges that both driver Angelique Griffin and the tow truck’s owner, All Star Enterprises and Collision Center Inc., were negligent and should be held liable for Renard’s death.
Renard, 19, of Danvers, was killed almost instantly in the early morning hours of June 16, as Griffin’s car slammed into the back of the tow truck parked — allegedly illegally — in front of 171 Boston St.
Griffin, 25, has been charged with motor vehicle homicide while driving drunk and other charges as a result of the crash.
Renard’s mother, Cherie Rubner, has asked a court to appoint her as administrator of her late son’s estate. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of her and Renard’s father, Philip Renard.
Yesterday, the owner of the tow company, Robert Cucurull, said he also received a citation for violating the city’s parking ordinance by leaving the truck on the street overnight.
Barry Feinstein, a lawyer representing the Renard family, said the vehicle should not have been parked in that location under the city’s code of ordinances.
The area, Feinstein said, is zoned in a way that bans overnight parking and is also a particularly dangerous spot, at the top of an incline.
“The vehicle shouldn’t have been there,” Feinstein said. “As a result, a young man lost his life.”
Cucurull, the owner of the towing company, expressed outrage when he learned of the lawsuit from a reporter.
“Isn’t that wonderful?” he commented when reached by a reporter yesterday. “Somebody thinks money is going to make their heart better.”
As to the allegation that he may be responsible by leaving the truck on the street, Cucurull said, “I’ve been on this street for 20 years, and I’ve never had a problem, but you have an intoxicated girl and a possibly intoxicated male out at 3:30 a.m. My mother used to say if you’re out at that hour, you’re up to no good.”
He said he allowed family and friends to create a memorial at the scene of the crash, but later took it down because friends of Renard were gathering to drink and use drugs at the spot, and it was becoming an eyesore, with dead flowers and burned-out candles.
He also suggested that the family was coming after his business because Griffin had minimal insurance, which he discovered when he made a claim against her policy for the damage to his tow truck.
Scott Dullea, a lawyer for Griffin, declined to comment, saying he has not yet seen a copy of the complaint.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.