Lawsuit Seeks $2M in 2023 Fatal Hermiston Hit-And-Run Accident

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The mother of a woman who died after injuries she suffered in a hit-and-run in Hermiston is suing the man who killed her along with the business that served him alcohol.

Pamela Dallmann through Lake Oswego attorney Ryan L. Hilts filed a wrongful death lawsuit April 1 in Umatilla County Circuit Court seeking $2 million from Anthony Solis Lemus and the El Ranchero restaurant in Hermiston. According to the pleading, Dallmann is the personal representative and mother of Jennifer Joann Whelan, who died at the age of 43 following a hit-and-run the night of March 11, 2023.

Hermiston police that night responded to a report of a possible hit-and-run involving a person. Police found Whelan in the road at West Orchard Avenue and South First Street. She was unconscious but breathing, and an ambulance rushed her to Good Shepherd Medical Center. She suffered a skull fracture and other injuries, and an aircraft ambulance flew her to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, Portland.

Whelan was on life support, but her family made the decision to end those measures March 16.

Police arrested Lemus for the crime. He pleaded no contest on Oct. 2 in Umatilla County Circuit Court in Hermiston to driving under the influence of intoxicants and second-degree manslaughter. He is serving a prison sentence of six years, three months.

The lawsuit alleges an intoxicated Lemus drove a Honda Civic onto the sidewalk, striking and severely injuring Whelan. The lawsuit also alleges El Ranchero served Lemus alcohol when he was visibly intoxicated. The lawsuit claims Lemus was an off-duty employee of El Ranchero, which served him free alcohol, therefore contributing to his “negligent and/or reckless actions.”

Lemus was reckless and/or negligent in several ways, the lawsuit alleges, including driving while intoxicated, driving too fast for the condition and second-degree assault.

El Ranchero was reckless and/or negligent as well, the lawsuit claims, including in serving Lemus when he was visibly intoxicated, failing to ensure Lemus did not operate his vehicle after leaving the premises and encouraging Lemus to drink free alcohol when he was visibly intoxicated.

The lawsuit seeks the $2 million for the pain and suffering Whelean experienced and for the suffering her family has endured for the loss of her companionship, support and services.

State court records also show Hilts has yet to serve Lemus and El Ranchero with the lawsuit, but on April 3 he sent Stephan Lopez, attorney for El Ranchero, a request for the business to admit it was negligent in one or more ways, including admitting serving Lemus alcohol and that was intoxicated when he left the establishment the night of the hit-and-run. Hilts also asked El Ranchero to admit it did not train employees regarding serving or providing alcohol to patrons who are visibly intoxicated.

The court has not set any date for actions in the case.

1 COMMENT

  1. He worked there he was off off duty at after work and he was served free alcohol and there’s a human being that died because of his recklessness Justice should be served for this family

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