HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WSAV) — A major gas station chain is responding to a multi-million dollar civil lawsuit, saying it is not to blame for a deadly accident.
Parker’s says the underage people on the boat the night Mallory Beach died are actually at fault.
A powerful defense laid out by the Parker’s Corporation in Hampton County court. The company is fighting lawsuits filed by Miley Altman and Morgan Doughty.
The most explosive claim by attorneys is that those girls and everyone else on the boat the night Mallory Beach died in 2019 knew the risks and still went ahead with their trip anyway, with deadly results.
The response filed last week says on February 23, 2019, all six people on the boat, who are called “the partiers” in the document, had a “premeditated plan” for a night of “illegal underage drinking and boating”.
That plan “disregarded the safety of the partiers and of others.”
It continues on to say the group “Intentionally chose to travel by boat to avoid DUI checkpoints. So they could get intoxicated and avoid getting caught by law enforcement.”
Adding that all six friends on the boat started drinking at the Murdaugh River House, and then got on the boat, went to a oyster roast thrown by friends of their families and drank for several hours “surrounded by their own parents relatives and other adults” who all knew they were underage.
The document goes on to say all of the passengers knew Paul Murdaugh had bought alcohol with his brother’s ID illegally before.
They knew Paul had continued drinking, including buying a drink at Luther’s Rare and Well Done restaurant.
Despite that, they all later got back on the boat in Beaufort that night knowing that there was “no light and dense fog”, and even though Paul, who was driving was “stumbling drunk.”
All four passengers have previously claimed that Paul wouldn’t let anyone else drive and became belligerent when they asked him to slow down or hand over the wheel.
Their lawsuits also mention that Paul’s mother Maggie knew he was drunk that morning but didn’t say anything about it all day, and handed him the boat keys anyway.
Parker’s has been sued by all four remaining passengers on the boat that night and the family of Mallory Beach.
The chain has asked for a jury trial in each case.