Depositions taken in ice cream truck accident civil lawsuit

Written depositions were taken this week in a civil suit involving a 23-year-old Odessa man accused of causing the deaths of three people in a fiery wreck last year.

Mark Cason Garrett, 24, was arrested after a wreck that caused the deaths of three people and injured three of his passengers when his vehicle collided with an ice cream van, causing both vehicles to burst into flames.

Garrett was indicted last July on 12 felony counts, including intoxication manslaughter, intoxication assault and aggravated assault.

A day before his criminal indictment, a civil suit was filed by Anne Maria Garcia, the wife of Angel Pierce, one of the victims of the accident, against Garrett; Mark L. Garrett and Karen Garrett, his father and mother, Vertico Production Specialties, FTI Wholesale, Strategic Restaurant Concepts, SRC Beverage Corp. and Texas Roadhouse, court records show.

The petition states that Garcia is seeking monetary relief of more than $1 million from the defendants.

All of the defendants have each summarily denied the claims made by the plaintiffs and interveners, and the suit will go to a jury trial at a date not yet scheduled in the 70th District Court of Judge Denn Whalen.

Garcia, 24, is suing on behalf of her husband, Angel Pierce, their daughter Katalina Pierce and their second child who she was still pregnant with at the time of his death. The petition for the suit states that on the day of the accident, Pierce, Barbara Ann Mackrell and Richard Jay Mackrell were riding in a leased ice cream truck owned and operated by the defendant FTI Wholesale near the 200 block of East Yukon Road when Garrett, reportedly intoxicated, was driving a vehicle owned by Vertico and his parents at an excessive rate of speed.

The petition stated that Garrett then rear-ended the vehicle with the Mackrells and Pierce inside, after which, both vehicles caught fire, trapping all three inside their vehicle, leading to their deaths, and seriously injuring Garrett and his three passengers, Maurice Green, Mikaila Bazan and Alexis Dominguez.

Garcia’s lawyer, Robert White, claimed negligence, wrongful death and damages to the estate of Angel Pierce, as well as Garcia and their children, the petition detailed. Garrett’s parents and their company, Vertico, are part of the lawsuit, as the petition states Garrett was driving a vehicle owned by both the company and his parents at the time of the accident.

Garcia also filed suit against Texas Roadhouse, Strategic Restaurant Concepts, and SRC Beverage Corp. as they were owners of Bubba’s 33 in Odessa, where Garrett and his friends reportedly spent the evening before the accident, the petition detailed, claiming gross negligence.

“Defendant BUBBA’S served alcoholic beverages to Defendant Cason Garrett at Defendant BUBBA’S location,” the petition stated, “even though it was or should have been apparent, that Defendant Cason Garrett was intoxicated to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others.

“Defendant BUBBA’S then allowed Defendant Cason Garrett to leave the establishment, enter his vehicle, and drive away while severely intoxicated. As such, Defendant BUBBA’S proximately caused Defendant Cason Garrett’s intoxication and all Plaintiffs’ injuries, deaths and damages,” the lawsuit states.

FTI, the owner of the ice cream truck being driven by the victims, is also being sued, the petition states, as they reportedly negligently installed the ice cream equipment in the vehicle, which caused the vehicle to catch fire upon impact and trap the victims inside, leading to their deaths, and injuring Garrett and his passengers.

Following Garcia’s initial suit, Mary Beck, the daughter of Barbara Mackrell; Andrea Gallardo; as next friend of Angel and Andres Gallardo, Pierce’s children; Green, Dominguez, and Kiley Jeter, the mother of Mikaila Buzan, all joined the suit, claiming damages as well.

The remaining interveners are also seeking monetary relief of more than $1 million from the defendants.

FTI has not only denied the claims, but also filed a counter-claim, stating that should Garrett’s family and the rest of the defendants be found guilty, they are entitled to compensation as well.

Garrett is still facing criminal charges for the incident as well, but no trial date has been set yet. He most recently changed legal counsel, substituting Tony Chavez for Annemarie Gillespie, court records show.

Jail records show Garrett has been in the Ector County Detention Center since September.

Garrett also sparked public outrage before his indictment after social media posts and video showed him at a bar following the first time he made bail.

He had his bond revoked and was sent back to jail that month for violating his bond conditions after reportedly testing positive for marijuana in a urine analysis test.