DRAM SHOP AWARD:
Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011
FORT WORTH -- The family of a woman killed in December 2009 when an intoxicated off-duty Fort Worth police officer plowed into her car has sued the now-imprisoned man.
Relatives of Sonia Baker allege that Jesus Cisneros' actions that early December morning constituted gross negligence and were the result of "conscious indifference" to the safety, rights and welfare of Baker. The family is seeking unspecified damages.
The lawsuit was filed Aug. 3 in Tarrant County.
Cisneros, who resigned from the Police Department shortly after the wreck, pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter during his trial in November and was sentenced by a jury to the maximum of 20 years in prison.
During the trial, Cisneros took the stand and admitted broadsiding Baker's PT Cruiser about 2:15 a.m. on Dec. 11, 2009, after drinking eight beers and four shots of liquor during another officer's birthday party at the Pour House on West Seventh Street. He had actually begun drinking while still on duty as part of an unauthorized undercover investigation into human trafficking.
Cisneros also acknowledged speeding through two red lights in his city-owned vehicle before the wreck at Columbus Trail and Evening Star Drive. Tests revealed a 0.17 blood-alcohol level.
Baker, a married dialysis technician with two sons, now ages 5 and 6, was on her way to a fast-food restaurant to get breakfast for her family. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Baker's family had sued the Pour House under the state's Dram Shop Act, which allows those who sell alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person to be held liable for resulting damages.
According to Tarrant County records, that suit was dismissed in March after the parties reached a settlement in which the bar and its affiliates agreed to pay almost $600,000
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