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Crash victim's relative files $50M lawsuit against Galveston bar operator, others
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  • GALVESTON

    The relative of a victim of the golf cart crash that killed four Saturday has filed a lawsuit against an automobile driver, an island bar operator and two bartenders seeking $50 million in damages.

    Houston attorney R. James Amaro filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Fort Bend County on behalf of Danielle Cantu, who is suing on behalf of the estate of a minor killed in the crash.

    It names as defendants Miguel Espinoza, who police allege ran a stop sign, triggering the crash, and RPoint5/Float LLC, owned by island restaurateur Mike Dean, and bartenders identified as John and Jane Doe.

    The company was cooperating with the investigation into the crash, Dean said Thursday.

    Espinoza, was driving a black Hyundai SUV that police allege ran a stop sign at 33rd Street and Avenue R, striking a pickup truck, which crashed into the golf cart carrying six people, killing Rosenberg residents Felipe Bentancur, 49; Kaisyn Bentancur, 4; Destiny Uvalle, 25; and Brailyn Cantu, 14. Two passengers, including Cantu, were critically injured in the crash.

    Espinoza, who is charged with four counts of intoxication manslaughter, ate at Float Pool & Patio Bar before the wreck, Dean said.

    “Mr. Espinoza and a guest had dinner at Float Pool & Patio Bar four hours prior to the wreck,” Dean said. “We are cooperating fully with the investigation and with the Galveston Police Department and the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission.”

    Under Texas law, alcohol sellers can be held liable for continuing to serve people who are intoxicated.

    Cantu is seeking damages for mental anguish, along with attorney’s fees and funeral expenses.

    She also is suing on behalf of the estate of the deceased minor for pain caused by the crash before death, medical expenses, taxable costs and exemplary damages.

    “The lawsuit was filed quickly for evidence preservation purposes and a temporary restraining order was granted yesterday in Fort Bend County District Court,” Amaro said. “Digital evidence is already disappearing, including social media posts of Mr. Espinoza and his companions.

    “We’re also concerned about DVR systems, which override digital video on hard drivers if not preserved. We need the public’s help regarding Mr. Espinoza’s activities earlier that day and evening.”

    Dean is the owner of RPoint5/Float LLC, the company which operates Float Pool & Patio Bar, 2828 Seawall Blvd.; Beerfoot Brewery, 2816 Ave. R 1/2; BLVD Seafood, 2804 Ave. R 1/2; Ohana Skate & Surf, 2814 Avenue R 1/2; Yaga’s Café and Tsunami Exotic Tequila Emporium, 2314 The Strand.

    Dean, the operator of Yaga’s Entertainment and Yaga’s Presents, also runs the Yaga’s Chili Quest & Beer Fest, Mardi Gras Galveston, The Galveston Island Food and Wine Festival, and The Wild Texas Galveston Island Shrimp Festival.

    A hearing on the application for temporary injunction is set for 9 a.m. Aug. 22 before Judge O’Neil Williams of the 268th Judicial District Court in Fort Bend County.

    The Galveston Police Department declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

    Espinoza was being held in the Galveston County Jail on $400,000 bond, according to jail records.

    Amaro has released a statement on behalf of the Bentancur family:

    “We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for the outpouring of love, prayers and support following the passing of our beloved family members,” the statement said.

    “Your kindness has been an invaluable comfort for our family during this time of unimaginable grief. We want to specifically thank and highlight the witnesses, first responders and medical professionals that cared for our loved ones in their final moments and that continue to care for our family members that are hospitalized.

    “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved father, Felipe Bentancur; our cousin, Destiny Uvalle; and our sons and nephews Brailyn Cantu and Kaisyn Bentancur.

    “Every single one of their lives was cut short too soon by a senseless tragedy. At this time, we ask that you please continue to keep our family in your prayers and respect our privacy during this difficult time.”

    A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Bentancur family with medical and funeral expenses: https://gofund.me/99e33918.

    The campaign Thursday had raised more than $32,000 toward a goal of $50,000.

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