BNSF Sues Whitefish Bar for Allegedly Over-Serving Woman

Railroad vehicle was destroyed in fatal wreck in 2013

By Justin Franz

BNSF Railway is accusing a Whitefish bar of over-serving a woman who died after stealing and crashing a company truck in September 2013.

The railroad is suing Casey’s Bar & Casino in Flathead County District Court because it believes the downtown business is liable for damages stemming from the fatal wreck. The case was filed on Sept. 24 before District Court Judge Heidi Ulbricht.

According to court documents and newspaper reports, a 33-year-old Bozeman woman was drinking at Casey’s on the evening of Sept. 27, 2013. Attorneys for the railroad, Scott M. Stearns and Christopher Decker, of Missoula, allege that the woman was visibly intoxicated, but despite that “the patron was forced or coerced into consuming alcohol,” a violation of Montana Code Annotated.

Later that night, the woman entered BNSF property near downtown Whitefish and tried to get into a railroad crew van that she thought was a taxi. Railroad workers at the scene informed her that it was not a taxi but the woman got behind the wheel of the vehicle and sped off. She later crashed the vehicle into a tree and died the following day at Kalispell Regional Medical Center from injuries she suffered in the crash.

The railroad is seeking damages from the bar stemming from the incident. The bar has yet to respond to the allegations in court.

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