Mandeville family awarded $1.3 million after drunken doctor hits them on the Causeway

Mandeville family awarded $1.3 million after drunken doctor hits them on the Causeway

METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - A St.Tammany Parish jury awarded  $1.2 million in punitive damages and $112,655 in actual damages to a Mandeville woman and her two children after a drunken physician rear-ended their vehicle in 2012 on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, according to our partners at | The Times-Picayune.

The award to Dara Johnson and her children came after the jury delivered the verdict in their favor late Wednesday in a civil trial at the 22nd Judicial District Court in Covington. The trial was held before Judge Scott Gardner

The Mandeville family sued Dr. Lawrence Getz.

Getz was never charged with drunken driving.

Dara Johnson was driving her 2005 Mitsubishi Montero north on the Causeway on April 3, 2012, at about 4 p.m. when the speeding Getz plowed his 2005 Ford Escape into the back of the victims' SUV.

According to, Louisiana State Police records showed Getz's blood alcohol content was 0.21 percent after the accident, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08. In an interview with The Times-Picayune in 2014, Dara Johnson said an assistant district attorney told her that Getz's blood-alcohol test had slipped through the cracks.

Reed's office initially pursued two traffic citations against Getz and he pleaded guilty to them in 2012. Then prosecutors presented the case to a grand jury, which charged Getz with the vehicular negligent injury charges in April 2014.

The 72-year-old Getz was living in North Carolina when he pleaded guilty in the related criminal case in 2015 to three counts of vehicular negligent injuring. He was given no jail time.

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