Brewery Settles Lawsuit With Mom, Daughter Involved in Off-Duty Trooper Crash in Southbury

NBCUniversal, Inc.

An Oxford brewery has settled with a Middlebury woman and her daughter after they filed a lawsuit alleging it contributed to an incident where an off-duty state police sergeant was intoxicated and drove his unmarked cruiser through a stop sign and smashed into their car in September.

Lisa Conroy, of Middlebury, and her daughter, Madison, sued Black Hog Brewing in Waterbury Superior Court in October. Lawyers said on Tuesday that the brewery has settled for $225,000.

The suit named Thomas Sobocinski and Jason Sobocinski, of Black Hog Brewing, alleging that they “maintained an alcohol service policy within the bar in which intoxicated persons would not be refused service.” And that “They served numerous drinks to … McDonald … which caused intoxication, when the defendants knew or should have known that … McDonald … would operate a motor vehicle upon leaving the … premises.”

The lawsuit also says that “They continued to supply alcohol to … McDonald … who lacked the capacity to fully understand the risks associated with intoxication due to his propensity to drink alcohol excessively.”

Conroy also sued Sgt. John McDonald and state police. They're seeking an undisclosed amount of damages for the injuries they suffered. The lawsuit against the state is ongoing.

The lawsuit claims, McDonald “… while driving intoxicated, disregarding a stop sign, and driving at an excessive rate of speed … suddenly and without warning collided with [Conroy’s vehicle] …”

According to the arrest warrant, McDonald was driving 71 miles per hour just before the crash. The posted speed limit in the area is 40 miles per hour.

The lawsuit said Conroy and her daughter suffered several injuries, including lacerations, contusions, loss of consciousness, and pain throughout their bodies. It adds that they “…[are] unable, and [remain] unable, to participate in and enjoy [their] usual activities.

Before the crash, McDonald was at the Black Hog Brewing Company in Oxford, according to the warrant. Based on surveillance footage, investigators believe McDonald drank at least eight alcoholic drinks between 2:19 p.m. and 5:13 p.m. He is later seen ordering more drinks and bringing them outside, where he cannot be seen by surveillance.

The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection said McDonald was off-duty during the crash and refused treatment so they don’t have a blood alcohol content report.

State police arrested McDonald in November in connection to the crash and charged him with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, second-degree assault with a motor vehicle, reckless driving, and failure to obey a stop sign.

An internal affairs investigation is underway and the criminal investigation continues.

NBC Connecticut has reached out to the attorney for the brewery, but we have not heard back.

We have also contacted McDonald's attorney and are waiting for a response.

A spokesperson for the state attorney general's office did not want to comment.

Contact Us