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12-Year-Old Sues Parents For Drunk Driving

Mary Carberry picked four children up from school in November 2007, then crashed into an embankment, killing two of the children. She was drunk. Now her 12-year-old daughter is suing her for damages.

Faith Carberry was 7-years-old when she watched her sister die in a car accident. The girls’ mother was driving the car. She was drunk.

Faith, now 12, is suing her parents for the physical and psychological injury they caused. Faith and her brother, John, sustained severe injuries when their alcoholic mother passed out while driving the children home from school. Ava, Faith’s 6-year-old sister, and friend Michaela Logan, 9, died when the vehicle crashed into an embankment.

The children’s mother, Mary Carberry, was “in the middle of a pub crawl and decided to pick up the four kids from school.” Mary remembers bits of the accident that killed her youngest daughter. “All I remember is the thump. Then the flashing blue lights,” she testified in court in 2007. “I did not know what I hit. I remember Ava, I remember her face, I just don’t know what happened. I don’t remember arriving in the hospital.”

After the accident, Mary was sentenced to six years in prison, but her time was later reduced to four years.

Now, Faith, with the help of her grandfather, is seeking justice for her sister. Faith was injured in the accident, undergoing surgery to her spine and spending ten weeks in a spinal cast at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital. Faith also suffered “severe psychological trauma and upset and she attended a child psychologist for three months after the incident.”

Mary Carberry had already been banned from driving at the time of the accident. After two previous DUIs, Mary had no license and no insured vehicle. Faith’s father – also being targeted in the girl’s lawsuit – claims that he bought Mary a car, but didn’t expect her to drive it. He’d merely purchased the car after Mary allegedly told him that the children were “wet and cold” walking to and from school.

“It pulled at my heart strings. She was seeking for me to provide transport, purchase a car and somebody who was insured and had a full licence would drive it,” Tommy Varden told the court, adding that he never intended for Mary to drive the purchased BMW.

Varden added that Mary was attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at the time, and “seemed to be turning a new leaf.”

The father recounts the night of the accidents, saying that he received a phone call from Mary. “She said Ava was dead and she thought Faith was dead too,” he said. Vargan notes that it was only when he arrived at the hospital that he discovered Mary had been driving the car.

“I was angry. I am still very angry. No way would I have given the car to her if I thought she was going to use it that way. I trusted her,” he said.

Faith, however, still holds her father responsible. He did, after all, purchase Mary a car. Vargan insists that, although he’d purchased the vehicle, it was only later that he discovered Mary had insured it, forging his signature on a check.

The lawsuit was settled on Wednesday, but the official outcome has yet to be disclosed.

According to Yahoo!News, Faith’s story is not a unique one. In the US, more than two-thirds of children fatally injured in car accidents “were riding with drunk drivers.” Young children, unlike adults, often do not have the awareness or option to opt out of getting into a car with an intoxicated driver, especially if a parent is behind the wheel.

In March, a mom in Iowa was allegedly driving drunk, and her 15-year-old daughter called 911 from the passenger’s seat. In 2009, four young kids died in a crash after their guardian was found to have a “blood alcohol level of .19 percent.

Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) claims to have received “an increasing number of alarming calls from concerned individuals regarding children riding with impaired drivers.” The organization believes that harsher penalties need to be administered to drunk driver’s when children are involved.

Readers: Do you think this little girl was right to sue her parents for her injuries and death of her sister?

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14 Responses to “12-Year-Old Sues Parents For Drunk Driving”

  1. Talia Wallace

    Yes, of course she was right to sue her parents. Her sister died, it's a criminal charges, and her parents are without a doubt responsible for the death of one daughter, and severe injuries to the other.

  2. Sheri Lee

    Don't forget the death of the children's friend. I hate reading that she only served four years for killing two children and maiming two others….so the court says the value of a child's life is one year served. SHAME.

    I hope this child wins her lawsuit and her parents are given a much harsher sentence this time.

  3. Sheri Lee

    Maim two children and kill two others and it's only worth four years of your time. I am happy to see this child (with grandfather's help) stand up for her rights when no one else would. I hope her story inspires harsher sentences the FIRST time around.

    I would like to see a program initiated in the schools that adresses the issue here. Yes, you should never get into a car with a stranger, but you ALSO should never get into the car with someone who is drunk or on drugs. Make it known that the children DO NOT HAVE TO. They can go to the neighbors house, they can go back into the school and tell a teacher.

  4. Nick Yarofalchuw

    suing your parents? shame on you, only in America cause of MONEY, this never happen anywhere in the world, but America. lol hahah shame on you……..

  5. Colleen Holbrook

    So, Nick, you think that parental loyalty should make everything ok? That this child should just forgive and forget and move on with her life, just because her own mother killed her sister and friend? What if it had been a stranger? I'm sure you'd be the first in line with a lawyer if this had happened to you and a stranger was responsible. Parents should be held MORE responsible for their actions that hurt or kill their children, not less. Money never makes anyone feel better, but money is what pays the doctor bills, the therapist bills, and provides a cushion against the time when, as an adult, that injured child may not be able to hold as good a job as they might have if it had not happened. Remember, this was NOT an accident. The mother CHOSE to drink, and keep drinking, and then drive with 4 helpless children in the car. This was a deliberate choice she had and she decided to risk everything. She lost. So did everyone else associated with this situation. I hope the parents of the other dead child sue them too.

  6. Colleen Holbrook

    She has already served her sentence, and she cannot be tried again on criminal charges. This lawsuit is in civil court, where monetary damages for irresponsible behavior can be awarded. She won't go back to jail for a "harsher sentence". But it may serve as a very harsh lesson for these parents who will have to go through the shame of the trial and everything about their lives exposed to the public. Hopefully there is enough money there to cover the future bills these kids will no doubt have as a result of that mother's decision to drink and drive.

  7. Sb Smith

    Yes, she was more than justified in sueing both parents.
    Her dad should have never bought that car. I guess he hadn't yet learned that drunks lie all the time and cannot be trusted even when they are "dry drunks". However, he is still still guilty nonetheless. Her mom? lock her up for life.
    I'm glad the girl's grandfather was helping her with that lawsuit. I can't imagine how fed up he must have been.

  8. Talia Wallace

    Did you read this story? It is not about "MONEY". It is about two dead children, two injured children, and searching for justice. Nobody should get away with manslaughter, and driving drunk.

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