Strip club ordered to pay $1.75 million in fatal crash

Club Blaze has been ordered to pay $1.75 million to the family of a woman who was killed in a wrong-way crash in Douglas County in 2008, a law firm announced Tuesday.

The jury returned the verdict Thursday in DeKalb State Court against the strip club for over-serving alcohol to the man who caused the I-20 crash that killed himself and Fatima Bird, a mother of two.

Another woman was killed and another injured in the wreck.

Otis South of Mableton was driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.398 -- nearly five times the legal limit of .08, the news release said.

"We never determined the exact number of drinks he had," attorney Trent Speckhals, of Speckhals Law, told the AJC. "It's not like someone would be unnoticeable in that condition."

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Police told the AJC in 2008 that authorities were notified of a wrong-way driver just minutes before the deadly wreck over the July 4 holiday weekend.

South, 41, was driving a Lincoln Town Car in the wrong direction on I-20 eastbound around 1:45 a.m. and slammed head-on into a Pontiac Sunbird driven by Bird, 22, of Douglasville between North County Line and Lee roads. South and Bird died at the scene.

One of Bird's passengers, 26-year-old Melisa Sinkfield of Atlanta, died during transport to Grady Memorial Hospital. Keonda Brown, then a 22-year-old living in Carrollton, was the only survivor.

“Fatima did not die in vain. This case will bring awareness about the long-term effects of a drunk driving. This has devastated our family,” Bird's mother, Lisa Mitchell, said in the news release. “Fatima was my daughter and my friend. We honor her by using this award to send her children to college so they can become the best that they can be.”

Bird's daughters are now 4 and 5 years old, Speckhals told the AJC.

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