Sep. 21—An attorney representing the family of a 21-year-old Manchester woman killed in 2019 when her car was hit by an off-duty Londonderry cop claims the former officer was over-served at a Bedford strip club prior to the crash.
Two court cases are pending in Hillsborough County Superior Court North in Manchester, one criminal and one civil. Both involve Tyler Berry, 29, of Amherst in connection with the April 2019 crash on Route 101 in Amherst that killed Sierra Croteau. Berry resigned from the Londonderry Police Department in May 2019.
According to a court affidavit, Berry was seen weaving in and out of traffic in his GMC Sierra 2500 pickup truck before the crash and smelled of alcohol when investigators interviewed him.
One witness told investigators that before the crash, a white truck with a veterans license plate had passed her on the left as she drove through an intersection and then passed several more cars on the right, according to the affidavit, filed in Hillsborough County Superior Court North.
Another witness told police that he was driving westbound on Route 101 when a white truck with a veterans license plate passed his car and two other vehicles by crossing a double-yellow line to drive into an oncoming traffic lane.
The civil suit was filed in early 2020 by Croteau's biological parents, Debrah (Bashaw) Whitney and Andrew Croteau, as well as the estate of Sierra Croteau.
In addition to Berry, two businesses are named as defendants: East Coast Restaurant and Nightclubs, which operated in Bedford as the Gold Club before changing names to Millennium Cabaret, and Pipe Dream Brewing in Londonderry.
Attorney Thomas E. Flaws is representing the victim's family in pending civil litigation related to the fatal crash.
“There was a lovely young woman with her entire life in front of her and they are heartbroken as anyone would be,” said Flaws.
Establishments that serve alcohol are not allowed to serve alcohol to individuals who are visibly intoxicated, said Flaws.
“We wanted to look into whether that happened,” he said.
Berry visited Pipe Dream Brewing and The Gold Club the evening of the fatal crash, the suit alleges.
Flaws said he questioned Alexis Martinez, a bartender at The Gold Club who told him during a deposition on Aug. 5 that Berry was at the club with two other individuals and they ordered a six-pack of Bud Light. The club rule at the time for alcohol service was no more than two drinks for each individual.
However, Flaws said he was told by the bartender that she did not check to confirm that each person in Berry's group was going to have two drinks from the six-pack.
“He had more than that. He had four beers out of the six pack,” said Flaws.
The following is taken from a transcript of the Martinez deposition. (Martinez's answers are preceded by the letters A.M.)
“Q. You made an assumption when you handed him the six beers for three people that they were each going to have two, right?
Q. But you didn't do anything to confirm whether anybody was going to have more than two beers, right?
Q. So this theory when you gave him a six-pack, one person in that group could have had all six beers?
A.M. Yes, but that's very … In all the years that I've been serving there's been nobody that's ever gotten six drinks for themselves all at once. I mean, that's almost unheard of for me.
Q. You can't serve six drinks to one person at once, can you?
A.M. I would say I would never serve six drinks to one person, but even people who want to drink a lot, they've never asked for six drinks all at once.”
Berry was initially charged with one count of felony aggravated driving while intoxicated, but later that year was indicted on eight additional charges — two counts each of manslaughter, negligent homicide, and reckless conduct; and one count each of falsifying physical evidence and criminal mischief.
The civil case is scheduled to begin in January 2022.
Union Leader Correspondent Kimberly Houghton contributed to this report.Internet Explorer Channel Network