Child Severely Brain Damaged in Drunk Driver Crash Dies after Six Years

Photo of Brian Humphrey

Eight-year-old Abdallah Khader of Arlington, Texas, died last Sunday morning. Abdallah had been in a near vegetative state for nearly six years since being brain damaged in a 2009 crash with a drunk driver, nearly brain-dead, strapped to a chair, and frequently suffering from pneumonia which necessitated the use of oxygen. The immediate cause of death has not been published, but it had been expected for some time that the child would ultimately die of lung failure.

Abdallah was two years old in 2009 when his family's 2003 Honda Accord, which was stopped at a red light, was rear-ended at high speed by a Ford F-250 pickup truck driven by Stewart Richardson, then 44. Though he was properly restrained in a car seat, Abdallah suffered skull fractures when the back seat was "obliterated" by the impact, according to Arlington police. As a result, 80 percent of Abdallah's brain was destroyed by contusions and strokes.

Richardson's blood alcohol content was about three times the legal limit at the time of the crash, and he was charged with intoxication assault. This was far from Richardson's first experience driving while intoxicated-he had seven prior DWI convictions in four different states.

Richardson was charged with intoxication assault and other offenses, but remains in a Tarrant County jail awaiting trial. The criminal case was the subject of a long legal battle over whether prosecutors could use Richardson's out-of-state convictions to seek enhancement of Richardson's sentence to possible life in prison. The trial court sparked outrage in granting Richardson's motion to quash the sentence enhancement paragraphs in the indictment, but that decision was reversed by the Second Court of Appeals last year.

It was discovered that Richardson was drinking at two Mansfield bars that night-Mr. B's Sports Grill and Applebee's. A receipt showed that Mansfield had purchased 23 drinks at Applebee's in two hours, and was found by TABC to have had three 24-ounce beers and three shots in an hour at Mr. B's. Mr. B's alcohol permit was cancelled by TABC (though new ownership has since obtained a new permit) for illegal sale of alcohol to an intoxicated person.

The Khader family sued Mr. B's and Applebee's under the Texas Dram Shop Act, a statute under which bars, restaurants, and other sellers of alcohol-as well as their employees-may be held liable for damages if it serves an obviously intoxicated person and that person later hurts or kills another, such as in a drunk driving collision. This law imposes a high standard for plaintiffs to meet, requiring them to prove that it was apparent to the bar's employees that, when he was served, the intoxicated person was so obviously intoxicated that he presented a clear danger to himself or others. Also, there is a "safe harbor" defense that allows the bar (but not the employees themselves) to escape liability if the bar requires all of its employees to take the TABC Seller Training course and if the server was actually TABC certified. The bar may lose this protection, however, if it is found to have directly or indirectly encouraged its employees to violate the law. Despite the difficulty of prevailing in such a suit, Applebee's settled with the Khaders before trial for an undisclosed amount.

Anyone who operates a business that sells alcohol owes the public a duty to serve responsibly. The Khader case was an instance where at least two bars plainly failed in that duty, with tragic results. In the end, at least one of the bars had to bear some financial responsibility for the damage it caused, though it undoubtedly required months, if not years, of perseverance for Khader's family and their attorneys.

If you or someone you know has been harmed by a drunk driver, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend by calling 713-222-7211 or toll free at 1-800-870-9584.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Awards & Recognition

  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

  • Lead Counsel Rated

    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

Get Your Free Case Review 713.587.9668

Let Us Help You Today! Request a Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Personal Injury Large Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs', taking a lead role in the plaintiffs' steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Plant Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs' steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Personal Injury Work Site Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm's client.

  • $12 Million Auto Accident 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $30 Million Personal Injury Burn Victims

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $30 million.

Our Record Of Success.

When you are hurt and you choose a law firm to represent you in court or at the negotiation table, you need to carefully consider the firm's record.

More Success Stories