The family of a man who died in a Dec. 17 car crash on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is suing the owners of the award-winning downtown restaurant Husk, alleging that they allowed an employee to drink to excess before getting on the road that night.

Quentin Gregory Miller, a 32-year-old Mt. Pleasant resident, died around 4 a.m. that Saturday morning after a car driven by Husk Assistant Manager Adam Joseph Burnell crashed into the rear of Miller’s vehicle, causing both cars to careen out of control. According to the lawsuit, Miller suffered blunt force trauma in the initial collision and then died an excruciating death when he was trapped inside as flames engulfed his vehicle. Burnell was arrested and charged with felony DUI, and he was released on a $52,349 surety bond Dec. 18.

Terry Miller, Quentin Miller’s father and the representative of his estate, filed a lawsuit last Friday against The Neighborhood Dining Group, the company that owns Husk as well as Queen Anne’s Revenge and McCrady’s. In the suit, he alleges that the company allowed Burnell to drink to excess and then drive away from the restaurant. He is suing for wrongful death and survival actions; negligent hiring, retention, and supervision; negligence per se; and dram shop negligence (specifically referring to laws that hold bars liable for drunken drivers leaving their premises). He has demanded a jury trial.

One of the accusations in the lawsuit is that Neighborhood Dining Group “failed to have a policy, or failed to enforce Defendant’s policy, that no agents, servants, employees or managers, such as Adam Joseph Burnell, would be allowed to remain at Husk after dinner service and after their normal shift for the purpose of consuming alcohol.”

Husk and its parent company have not yet issued a response to the lawsuit, but the company publicist plans to send out an official comment later today.

The December car crash made an emotional impact on Charleston’s community of food and beverage workers, as many restaurant employees knew either one of the parties involved or both. Quentin Miller worked as a bartender at Henry’s downtown and on Seabrook Island.

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