Victims Say Service Plaza to Blame for Deadly Crash - NBC Connecticut

Victims Say Service Plaza to Blame for Deadly Crash



    The several hundred page lawsuit takes aim at Project Service. (Published Monday, March 24, 2014)

    A deadly crash that killed a Norwich firefighter has now led to a lawsuit. The suit targets the owners of a gas station, claiming it did nothing to prevent the accused driver, Willis Goodale, from driving under the influence.

    According to the lawsuit, Goodale had been living in his car at the station parking lot and was visibly abusing drugs and alcohol.

    In March of 2012, 33-year-old d Benjamin DeMond was killed and his two young boys, Alexander and Nichola, were injured when they were hit by Goodale on I-395 in Montville.

    Two years later, DeMond's sons are still recovering.
    "There's not a day they still don't come by and mention and talk about their father," said attorney Mark Griffin who represents several of the victims involved in the crash.
    Police say Willis Goodale left the Montville Mobile Mart intoxicated. While crossing the southbound lanes of 395 for an emergency vehicle turnaround, police say his Jeep struck the Nissan, forcing it into opposing traffic where it was hit head-on by an oncoming car.
    Goodale remains in jail facing a slew of charges, and now the victims say the station, which sits across the way from a state police barrack, needed to do more.
    "One phone call is all that had to be made during that period of two weeks leading up to the accident," said Griffin.
    Griffin says Goodale has been living in his car at the station, and that the night of the crash Goodale stayed there for hours drinking.
    The several hundred page lawsuit takes aim at Project Service, which is responsible for the mart.
    "The State of Connecticut put upon Project Services the obligation to maintain these service stations in a safe manner," said Griffin.
    We reached out to Project Services but did not hear back.
    Griffin says even after multiple surgeries, Alexander and Christopher, who are now eight and six, are still fighting an uphill battle.
    "One phone call and this entire episode could have been averted," said Griffin.
    Griffin also represents the victims in the criminal case. Goodale is due in court next month, and Griffin hopes some sort of plea deal can be reached.