As if the story of deceased Cardinal pitcher Josh Hancock wasn’t tragic enough, it appears the Hancock family is determined to make it worse. Hancock of course was the Cardinal reliever who drove a rental SUV into the back of a tow truck on Highway 40 in St. Louis killing himself but luckily injuring no one else. It was later revealed that Hancock had a blood alcohol level of nearly twice the legal limit, was speeding, and was using his cell phone at the time of the crash.
Now, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Hancock’s family is suing the restaurant that Hancock was leaving, as well as the towing company, the tow truck driver, and the motorist being assisted by the tow truck. The suit alleges
"The restaurant, operated by Cardinals broadcaster and onetime player Mike Shannon, seeks patronage of sports celebrities who become drunk there. It alleges that Hancock ‘regularly became visibly intoxicated’ at Shannon’s and that, ‘The intoxication of Joshua Morgan Hancock on said occasion was involuntary."
I’m sorry… WHAT? The intoxication was involuntary? As in one of the defendants named in the suit forced Hancock to get drunk? Now don’t get me wrong, I think restaurants and bars do share some responsibility to not over serve their patrons. The restaurant’s manager reportedly offered the pitcher a cab ride home but was told he was only heading a couple of blocks down the street. Obviously having not been there I have no idea whether they over served him or not.
That being said, this law suit might be the most telling event of this whole tragic episode. How does one get involuntarily drunk? More importantly, how in the **** do you decide to sue the tow truck company, driver, and motorist? I mean what are you saying to these people – You shouldn’t have clipped the median (apparently after another driver cut him off) and been stuck on the road that my idiot son was going to be speeding down drunk and on the phone? Get a CLUE!
I’d like to think that this is simply a grief stricken family lashing out, perhaps on some bad legal advice. However, as I said earlier, I think it gives us a glimpse into Hancock’s life. The young man made the worst possible choice at the worst possible time. He killed himself and was fortunate not to have killed other innocent people. But rather than apologizing to the victims and the community for their son’s idiotic and criminal activity, the family sues everyone in sight. I’m surprised they didn’t name the St. Louis Cardinals and maybe even Anheuser Busch in the suit as well!
You see, according to Hancock’s family and their lawsuit, it was everyone else’s fault. The blame does not belong to their son. No, no, certainly not. The bartender shouldn’t have served him, the motorist shouldn’t have gotten cut off, and the tow truck shouldn’t have stopped to help him (even though the truck’s flashing lights and heavy frame likely saved the motorist’s life in this case).
Now maybe I’m reading too much into this but it certainly seems to me that by blaming everyone else, the family is trying to make excuses their son’s actions. If they are unwilling to blame their son in this case, where he is so obviously the one at fault, chances are that they’ve never held him accountable for his actions. "Oh, you drove drunk son? It’s not your fault. You put everyone on the road that night in danger? That bar shouldn’t have served you. You ran into a truck and ended your young life? Someone has got to pay because it couldn’t have been your fault."
I’m sorry, Hancock family, when your son decided to put the key into the ignition and drive off even though he was drunk, he alone was responsible for his actions. Those actions and your son’s subsequent death were unfortunate and saddening. This lawsuit, the logic behind it, and the message it sends, however, are truly tragic.