Family of drunk driving victim sues UNM dorm management company

A former University of New Mexico student is serving a nine-year sentence for a drunk driving crash that killed a woman.

But, the victim’s family said the management company of UNM’s dorms should also take part of the blame.  

In February 2017, drunk driver Luke Griffin rear-ended a car on I-25 near the San Felipe Pueblo, killing 49-year-old Corrina Vaden from Colorado and injuring two other women in the car.

His blood alcohol was three times the legal limit.

Court documents now reveal who else was involved that night.

According to the lawsuit, two 21 year olds, Koa D. Forese-Benedict and Samuel Christensen, bought and gave Griffin alcohol at the Casas del Rio apartments behind Johnson Field on the UNM campus where Griffin and Forese-Benedict lived. Then, the trio drove to Santa Fe in Griffin’s Audi.

Griffin sped back to Albuquerque several hours later, causing the crash.

At his sentencing in December 2017, he faced 21 years but got nine in a plea deal.

The victim’s family civilly sued all three men and the Texas company that manages the UNM dorms, ACC OP, for negligence. ACC OP also manages Lobo Village, according to UNM.

It states the company should have known the apartment was being used as a “party house” for underaged students, creating a risk for injury.

UNM students on Friday said it’s a well-known fact that students party in the dorms.

“There definitely is,” UNM student Azka Naru said. “You know, friends are just trying to help friends out, but in the end you got to just be cautious about this because you could get into trouble.”

Court documents show undisclosed settlements have been reached with Griffin and his two friends, but not with the student housing owner and management company.

Meanwhile, UNM said it is not liable because it is not named in the lawsuit.

KRQE News 13 reached out to the ACC OP’s attorney for a comment, but did not hear back.

ACC OP owns and leases more than 200 apartment communities nationwide and is worth $9.6 billion.

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