Mother Sues County After Son Dies in Second Drunk-Driving Accident
A 29-year-old man who was killed while drinking and driving was in another crash just 30 minutes before
Peter Fedden miraculously survived a drinking and driving crash in July 2013. But just 30 minutes later, the New York man got into another car accident and died.
On Monday, his mother, Kathi Fedden, filed a $30 million lawsuit against Suffolk County for negligence in causing his death. She claims that her son died because police did not arrest him after the first accident.
Included in the lawsuit is an area Ruby Tuesday restaurant that Kathi claims is responsible for her son’s intoxication.
“The defendants carelessly disregarded Peter’s safety and actually created the events leading to Peter’s wrongful death,” the lawsuit says.
The Suffolk County Police Department tells PEOPLE they do not comment on pending litigation. Ruby Tuesday could not be reached for comment.
A Treacherous Night
Peter, 29, owned and operated a small delicatessen restaurant, according to the lawsuit.
He left work on July 30 to go help a friend who had just opened his own deli and worked there until 9 p.m., when he drove to a Ruby Tuesday restaurant.
“He was over-served at the bar,” Kathi Fedden’s attorney, Harry Thomasson, tells PEOPLE. “He had way too much to drink.”
Before leaving the restaurant, Peter and the bartender made a plan to meet around the corner at his deli after she finished her shift a few minutes later.
He left with another customer and got to the deli at 11 p.m., where they smoked marijuana and then left to go pick up some more.
“They crashed at about 11:30 and it was horrific,” says Thomasson. “They all somehow not only survived but were able to walk away from the scene.”
The accident happened when Peter was driving at more than 90 miles per hour as his car rounded a bend on the road.
The crash scene had skid marks, with Peter’s car traveling across two or more lawns, through a fence, and ending about 200 yards from where he lost control. The car crashed into a parked car, spinning that vehicle around and into its owners’ garage.
Thomasson alleges police asked passengers if they were injured and after the two passengers indicated that they weren’t hurt, they were told to “get the hell out of here,” a claim referenced in the lawsuit.
Peter’s car was towed away and he was placed in the back of the police car and driven home.
“Anyone else would have been arrested in an instant,” Thomasson says. “But Peter knew the police very well. He was so close with them that he only charged them $1 to eat anything at his deli, no matter what it cost.”
He says that Peter was also so close with them that he carried approximately two dozen Suffolk County police courtesy cards in his pocket – a card Thomasson says is given by police officers to individuals they know.
As Peter pulled away in the back of the cop car, he gave his friends the “thumbs up” sign, according to the lawsuit.
The Deadly Crash
Peter Fedden wasn’t arrested or charged with any crime, according to the lawsuit. Instead, police dropped him off at his driveway, where there were three other cars parked.
According to the lawsuit, Fedden then took a set of keys and left in another automobile.
“Did they not think that these cars were deadly weapons for Peter?” Thomasson says. “They failed to protect him from himself.”
A few minutes after leaving his home, just after midnight, he crashed a second time while driving recklessly, at excessive speeds greater than 100 miles per hour.
He died from his injuries, and according to the lawsuit, his blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit.
“Peter was a great man,” Thomasson says. “This shouldn’t have happened.”