Anna Wakeman and her husband, Raymond, were relaxing on their couch in Northeast Philadelphia one night last February, unaware that a Dodge Dart allegedly driven by an off-duty cop had just pulled out of the Fraternal Order of Police bar and was barreling toward their living room.
The impact — three minutes later — was catastrophic.
Raymond, 45, was sent “flying across the room” while Anna, 53, a mother of three, was “suddenly crushed, dragged and pinned under the vehicle,” according to a recent lawsuit.
Their injuries were extensive. The couple had to find another place to live. Both of their dogs died as a result of the crash.
Those are among the allegations contained in the lawsuit filed in May by the Wakemans against then-Philadelphia Police Officer Gregory Campbell, the alleged driver, and against the FOP bar and a second bar where Campbell is believed to have been drinking that day at a beef-and-beer fund-raiser for the family of a deceased colleague.
The lawsuit, filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, details the horrific nature of the crash, and alleges that both establishments continued to serve Campbell alcohol after he was visibly intoxicated. It also mentions a previous DUI incident on their property involving a patron of the FOP bar.
Campbell, 27, had allegedly reached a speed in excess of 70 miles per hour — more than twice the posted limit — as he blew through a stop sign, crossed four lanes of traffic, and plowed into the Wakemans’ home on the other side of the dead-end intersection.
“At no time, did … Campbell attempt to slow or otherwise stop at the stop sign,” the suit states, adding that Campbell’s blood alcohol content was at an “outrageous level.”
Campbell, who joined the Philadelphia police force in March 2018 and had worked in the 14th District in Germantown, was charged with aggravated assault and related offenses. He is awaiting his preliminary hearing.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw terminated Campbell after the Feb. 6 crash, calling the case “appalling.”
“A family should always feel safe in their home, and yet the actions of this individual shattered that reality,” she said in a statement at the time.
After the crash, Anna Wakeman was rushed to Jefferson Torresdale Hospital in critical condition with a plethora of serious injuries, including: a broken leg, 13 fractured ribs, a fractured vertebrae, brain bleeding, punctured or collapsed lungs, a damaged or ruptured spleen, and injuries to her left ear “requiring stitches to reattach,” according to the lawsuit.
Raymond Wakeman suffered less serious injuries to his arm, hand, and leg, and road rash on his back.
In addition to Campbell, the lawsuit names the FOP’s 7C Lounge, a members-only bar and restaurant inside the union headquarters, up the street from the Wakemans’ home.
The suit contends that Campbell was not the first patron of the 7C Lounge to be involved in a “DUI related accident” at the Wakemans’ home. It does not elaborate. The Wakemans’ attorney, James Waldenberger, declined to comment.
A spokesperson for FOP president John McNesby this week declined to comment on the lawsuit, and the union’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment. After the crash, McNesby had described it as an “unfortunate incident” and said the FOP would cooperate with the investigation.
Jane Roh, a spokesperson for Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, said the office has confirmed that Campbell was at the FOP bar immediately prior to the crash.
Also named in the suit is the Crispin Tavern, a Northeast Philadelphia bar where Campbell is believed to have been drinking before driving to the FOP lounge. The bar was holding a fund-raiser that day for the family of James O’Connor IV, a police corporal who was fatally shot while serving an arrest warrant in Frankford last year. An attorney for the bar did not respond to a request for comment.
In DUI cases, bars can be sued under the state’s Dram Shop Law, which holds them liable if they serve alcohol to a drunk patron, and that decision leads to injuries or damages.
“You have to show they were actually served while visibly intoxicated,” said Christine Zaremski-Young, a partner at Edgar Snyder & Associates, a Pittsburgh based personal injury law firm.
Proving that might require eyewitness testimony, video surveillance, and bar receipts.
“If someone is driving while intoxicated, typically you want to look into where they were imbibing,” said Zaremski-Young, who is not involved with the Campbell case.
Campbell’s civil and criminal attorneys declined to comment. Hearings on both cases are scheduled for next month.