The corporation that owns a now-closed Belmar bar has agreed to pay $1.5 million to the estate of a woman killed in a drunk driving incident involving the bar.
8th Avenue Ventures, the corporation that owns Connelly Station Restaurant and Tavern, settled a lawsuit brought on by the estate of Tiffany Soto, who died April 20, 2014.
Soto’s estate claimed the bar continued to serve her boyfriend, Edwin Martinez, despite his being visibly intoxicated that night. After Martinez got into a fight with other patrons outside the bar – he broke their windshield with a tire iron, according to a report from Law.com – the couple left in his car, which a block away collided with another car before striking a curb and utility pole, jumping the embankment and flipping onto its roof in a parking lot.
Soto, a Howell resident, was ejected from the car and thrown into the Shark River. Her autopsy listed her cause of death as drowning and blunt force head trauma.
She was 26.
Martinez, then 24, had his blood drawn two hours after the accident. His blood was .207, twice the legal limit. According to Law.com, he pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and drunk driving. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2016.