Accused drunken driver says restaurant is to blame for fatal accident in Salem
BRENTWOOD — An alleged drunk driver behind the wheel of a car that crashed into another car and killed a Salem man will argue a Chinese food restaurant overserved him alcohol as part of his defense in his civil suit.
The Union-Leader reported lawyers for Michael Gomez, 26, of Lowell, Mass., filed paperwork with the court indicating plans to seek apportionment of liability to others he claims were at fault or contributed to the crash that killed 33-year-old Phillip Carter.
Carter’s wife, Melinda Nutter of Salem, is suing Gomez, who was allegedly speeding and switching lanes before he smashed into Carter’s car on June 16, 2015, when Carter pulled out of Salem Ford. Nutter is also suing Yang Ming, a Salem restaurant that she claims served Gomez alcohol when he was already intoxicated.
Gomez was indicted on manslaughter and reckless conduct charges. Yang Ming has denied that it served Gomez enough alcohol to cause him to become intoxicated and that the deadly accident was caused by Gomez’s criminal behavior.
Gomez has denied all allegations. He is being held at the Rockingham County jail. He faces up to 18 ½ to 37 years in state prison if convicted on the manslaughter and reckless conduct charges.