- Associated Press - Friday, March 13, 2015

JAY, Okla. (AP) - Parents of a 17-year-old who was killed in a traffic accident in 2012 have been awarded $1.5 million in a civil case settlement.

The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1GNPJ0Q ) reports that Donna and Duane Kerns settled last week with Woodshed Liquor Store, which sold vodka to their son, Colton Kerns, in 2012.

On April 20, 2012, Kerns was caught drinking alcohol at school, where he and other students were decorating for prom. School officials told him he would not be allowed to attend prom, and he was driven home by a student.

Kerns decided to attend the function regardless of the ban, and crashed his pickup on the way. An autopsy showed his blood alcohol level was 0.13.

The settlement is the largest in Oklahoma that Lt. Erik Smoot is aware of because he says that a settlement’s terms are not typically revealed. The Kerns refused to settle the case unless the terms were made public.

The Kerns also requested that all the company’s employees go through mandatory training to prevent alcohol sales to minors.

Rick Wood, owner of the Woodshed, said the company has changed its policy and now requires every customer to present an ID. Before, the company only carded people who looked younger than 30.

“The law does not require everyone who purchases alcohol to be carded, and I believe the law should be changed,” Wood said. “Everyone thought this young man appeared at least 10 years older than he really was. I now know that when the store clerks are asked to make judgment calls about age, there are going to be mistakes.”

Store clerk Stacey Dixon was convicted for selling alcohol to Kerns. She spent 46 days in jail.

According to Smoot, Kerns had purchased liquor from the store several times without being asked for identification.

Kerns’ parents also sued the high school for negligence on the day of their son’s death. The civil suit was settled last October for a confidential amount.


Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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