The wife of ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman was served alcohol — even though she was already drunk — just before she killed herself and another driver in a Connecticut car crash, a new lawsuit charges.
The suit was filed by the family of Edward Bertulis, who died when Katherine Berman rear-ended his car on May 9, 2017.
The 87-year-old’s kin accuses Market Place Kitchen & Bar of continuing to serve Katherine Berman, 67, alcohol that day despite being drunk.
Workers at the Woodbury restaurant “chose to continue serving Mrs. Katherine Berman when they knew she was intoxicated and likely to drive a motor vehicle,” the suit says.
The complaint, which seeks monetary damages from the restaurant and its owner Elias Hawli, was filed under a Connecticut law called the Dram Shop Act. The statute indicates that an establishment can be held liable for serving an intoxicated person who causes death or injury after leaving.
Katherine Berman left Market Place around 2:15 p.m. and was drunk when she climbed into her 2003 Lexus SC 430, the complaint alleges. She was behind Bertilus’ 2003 Ford Escape on Route 63 near the Tuttle Road intersection “when, in consequence of her intoxication, she suddenly and without warning slammed into the rear end of Mr. Bertulis,” the suit says.
Her Lexus veered off the road, went down an embankment and flipped over into a small pool of water.
The impact, according to the complaint, “caused Mr. Bertulis to be ejected from his vehicle and suffer severe injuries which later resulted in death.”
Police said Bertlius’ vehicle overturned after striking a utility pole. He wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was partially thrown from the car.
Katherine Berman’s death was ruled an accident and officials did not release her toxicology results. They said she died from blunt trauma and drowning.
The suit doesn’t speculate how many drinks she was allegedly served that day.
Lawyers for Hawli, who lives in Brookfield, and the Bertulis family declined comment to the Courant.
Bertulis had been at a cemetery visiting his wife’s grave — something his family said he did every day.
Neither Katherine Berman nor her estate are named as defendants in the suit, which was filed in May in Connecticut Superior Court in Litchfield.
A lawyer for Hawli and Market Place didn’t immediately return a message.
Chris Berman served as ESPN’s longtime on-air personality covering the NFL before semi-retiring in 2017. The Post recently reported the network is in talks to bring him back in a more expanded role for the upcoming season.
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