The widow of the only Amherst police officer ever killed in the line of duty began a $15 million lawsuit Friday against the driver accused of his death, the bar where that driver had been drinking, a utility company and the Town of Tonawanda.
Candice G. Adamy accuses the T.G.I. Friday's Bar in Boulevard Mall in Amherst of continuing to serve drinks to Mark Ziriakus after he "became intoxicated" and before the fatal crash last January that killed her husband, Lt. Joseph F. Adamy, 39, about 1:20 a.m. Jan. 27 while he was on routine patrol.
A 13-year veteran of the police force, Adamy died of a skull fracture and suffered a broken neck when Ziriakus' pickup struck his patrol car, slamming it into a utility pole on the Town of Tonawanda side of Niagara Falls Boulevard.
Mrs. Adamy accuses the Town of Tonawanda of improperly maintaining the intersection where the crash occurred and charges Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. of improperly positioning the utility pole that her husband's patrol car slammed into.
Ziriakus, 33, was turning left onto Niagara Falls Boulevard at Koenig Road when the crash occurred.
Eugene C. Tenney, Mrs. Adamy's lawyer, said he also has warned the state that he intends to file a claim against the state over the state's role in construction and lighting of the intersection. Tenney declined to say how much money would be sought from the state.
Mrs. Adamy charged in her lawsuit that her husband suffered "mental and emotional distress" as well as "serious painful" injuries before he died at the scene of the crash. He was the father of five children, now 16 months to 18 years old.
Ziriakus, a Town of Tonawanda resident, is free on $25,000 bail. He faces criminal charges of manslaughter, driving while intoxicated, criminally negligent homicide and failing to yield the right of way.
At the time of the crash, Ziriakus had a blood-alcohol content of 0.17 percent, according to prosecutors. The state's legal limit is 0.10 percent.
His trial hasn't been scheduled, but should be held in less than a year, court officials said.
Because Mrs. Adamy doesn't want to interfere with the criminal case, Tenney said, the civil case won't go to trial for 18 months to two years.
Edward C. Cosgrove, attorney for T.G.I. Friday's Inc., the company that owns T.G.I. Friday's, said the bar's employees "categorically deny" serving Ziriakus when he was noticeably drunk, a violation of state law.
The bar also "categorically denies that Mr. Ziriakus was intoxicated" in the bar "or that we ever serve intoxicated people," Cosgrove said.
T.G.I. Friday's trains its employees how to spot and deal with excessive drinkers, Cosgrove said.