Lawsuit filed in fatal hit-and-run
Karlie Tomica accused of hitting, killing Stefano Riccioletti
MIAMI – A wrongful death complaint was filed Thursday against the woman accused in the fatal hit-and-run of a Miami Beach chef.
"It is our position that there is shared accountability in this case," said attorney Elisabeth Culmo.
Tomica, 20, is charged in Stefano Riccioletti's death. She posted $10,000 bond on Jan. 28 after she was charged with leaving the scene of a crash resulting in death.
Police credited a Good Samaritan who called 911 and followed the car that hit Riccioletti with helping them make an arrest.
Riccioletti was the executive chef at Terrazza at the Shore Club. The family is seeking more than $15,000 in damages but an exact amount was not immediately available.
According to the lawsuit, Tomica was returning home from working a night shift as a bartender and/or server at Nikki Beach when she hit Riccioletti.
The lawsuit states Tomica "was under the influence of alcohol and/or her normal facilities were otherwise impaired such that she could not drive safely."
The lawsuit also states Tomica drank alcohol at Nikki Beach despite being under the legal drinking age and needed permission from managers to leave after her shift ended. It states that servers and bartenders at the South of Fifth club are encouraged to drink with customers.
"Nikki Beach Club cannot claim ignorance in this case because this girl was on their payroll, so there is no question that she was underage and that she was drinking within their premises," said Culmo. "I have to believe it would have been an obvious certainty to them that she was impaired and had no business getting behind the wheel of a car and they let her go."
Culmo said layers hadn't interviewed employees at Nikki Beach Club yet. She said the points made in the lawsuit are currently theories.
"Do you think this is a little premature to put out this lawsuit before you know some of those critical pieces of evidence?" asked Local 10's Christina Vazquez.
"I think we have the critical pieces of information that we need," answered Culmo.
According to the police report, Tomica refused a field sobriety test, but blood was drawn after her arrest.
Tomica could face more charges once toxicology test results come back. In the arrest report, police noted she appeared drunk.
According to a police report, Tomica said she worked as a bartender at Nikki Beach. Management there offered no comment on her arrest.
On Tomica's Twitter page, she described herself as "Party Princess Miami Beach Livin the dream." Her Facebook page said she is from Port St. Lucie and attended Florida International University but left after one year.
Both her Twitter and Facebook accounts have since been disabled.
Nikki Beach is named after owner Jack Penrod's daughter Nicole Penrod, who she was killed in a DUI-related car crash in 1998, according to published reports.
"That is the sad and tragic irony of this case. The owner has been a strong advocate against drinking and driving," said Culmo.
Tomica is scheduled to be arraigned in February.
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