Federal jury clears Applebee's restaurant in deadly New Mexico drunken driving crash

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A federal jury has decided an Applebee's restaurant in New Mexico broke no laws when it served a man whose drunken-driving crash killed two young women.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://goo.gl/KX8c94) the jury returned its verdict Wednesday. It says the Santa Fe restaurant didn't violate the state Liquor Control Act when it served James Ruiz and his friend Gilbert Mendoza in 2010.

Police say Ruiz, driving drunk, killed 19-year-old Del Lynn Peshlakai and her 17-year-old sister, Deshauna, of Naschitti. The sisters were in Santa Fe to support their school's basketball team.

The Peshlakai family has settled its civil claims against many of those they sued in the deaths. However, Applebee's and its franchisee AmRest were added to the lawsuit later.

Jeff Ray, an El Paso attorney who defended Applebee's, said he was pleased with the jury's verdict.