RANDALL COUNTY, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The family members of one of the people who died last year after an October 2022 wreck in Randall County are suing the Guitars and Cadillacs nightclub, along with Canyon resident Rayna Smith, the driver involved in the accident, in relation to the incident.

This comes after Smith was indicted for two charges of “Intoxication Manslaughter w/ Vehicle” in Randall County District Court earlier this month in relation to the October 2022 incident that killed 21-year-old Alicia Bustos and 21-year-old Analuisa Mendoza, two Portales, New Mexico, residents.

According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, the accident reportedly occurred on I-27 south of Amarillo. Officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety said at the time that a pickup truck was driving south in the northbound lane when it crashed into a passenger car, killing both Bustos and Mendoza. DPS reported at the time that the driver of the pickup truck, identified by the department as Smith, “had been drinking alcohol.”

In Randall County District Court, Bustos’ parents, Shon Bustos and Marcela Tarwater, along with her estate, filed a civil lawsuit against Smith and RB Entertainment Inc., which does business as the Guitars and Cadillacs nightclub, seeking damages in relation to their alleged involvement in the incident. Three parties, including the estate of Analuisa Mendoza, Jose Mendoza and Maria Mendoza, were also listed as intervenors in this case.

According to the first amended petition, filed on Nov. 9, 2022 in Randall County District Court, Bustos’s parents, along with the estate, are seeking more than $1 million in damages related to the incident. This includes damages pursuant to the Wrongful Death Act and other, reasonable, exemplary damages.

The petition alleged that on Oct. 12, 2022, and the morning of Oct. 13, 2022, employees of Guitars and Cadillacs provided alcohol to Smith, while she was “obviously intoxicated” and underage.

“…Smith left the establishment in an obviously intoxicated state, driving her vehicle the wrong way on a one-way highway and hit head-on with Decedent, Alicial Bustos’ vehicle,” the petition reads. “…Bustos was severely injured and eventually died at the scene. Prior to her death, she suffered conscious extreme physical pain and mental anguish.”

For reasoning surrounding the damages, the petition cited the negligence of Smith, as the defendant. According to the document, the petition claims that Smith violated common law by failing to look out for other vehicles, failing to yield the right of way, failing to take evasive action to avoid colliding with the vehicle and failing to control the speed of the vehicle. The petition also claims that Smtih violated statutory traffic laws including intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter.

The petition also cited damages related to the Guitars and Cadillac nightclub allegedly violating Section 2.02(b) of the Texas Alcohol Beverage Code.

According to the code, officials said that providing, selling or serving an alcoholic beverage may be made the bases of a “statutory cause of action,” upon proof that “it was apparent to the provider that the individual being sold, served or provided with an alcoholic beverage was obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others.”

“Defendant and their employees sold, served or provided alcoholic beverages to Defendant, Rayna Smith, an adult underage recipient, when she was obviously intoxicated to the extent that she presented a clear danger to herself and others,” the petition reads. “Defendant, Rayna Smith’s intoxication was a proximate cause of the incident made the bases of this case and Alicia Bustos’ death.”

In a response to the original petition by the lawyers representing the Guitars and Cadillacs nightclub filed on Dec. 6, 2022, the lawyers generally denied the allegations outlined in the petition, stating that the injuries were “caused the acts of third persons not under the control” of the nightclub and the entity “cannot be held liable for the criminal acts of a third party.”

The nightclub reiterated that it requires its employees to attend a seller training program and that the employees on duty during the time “the alleged intoxicated recipient was allegedly served alcohol had previously received training from such an approved training program.”

“Defendant further specifically denies that either Defendant or its employees provided Co-Defendant Rayna Smith with alcoholic beverages when she was obviously intoxicated to the extent that she presented a clear danger to herself and others,” the documents read.

In a response from Smith’s lawyers, filed in Randall County District Court on Dec. 16, 2022, they cited Rule 92 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, which would require the plaintiffs to prove “allegations and accusations” to a jury “by a preponderance of the credible evidence, except as to allegations of gross negligence, which must be proven by clear and convincing evidence.”

“Based on the facts known at this time, Defendants assert that the proximate cause of the incident made the basis of this lawsuit may have been the conduct and breach of duty of some other party other than Defendant, and over whom Defendant possessed no right of control and for whose acts Defendant are not legally responsible,” the documents read.

Since these documents were filed, other documents filed in Randall County District Court include various certificates of written discovery and the plaintiffs’ designation of expert witnesses. MyHighPlains.com has reached out to the respective lawyers involved in this case and this story will be updated if any of them return the request for comment.

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This is a developing story. MyHighPlains.com will update this article as new information becomes available.

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