The family of a Sudanese man who was killed in a hit-and-run accident two years ago has filed a civil suit in 3rd District Court against the driver who ran him down, as well as the driver's employers.

According to court documents, the family of 36-year-old Bap Akol Deng Bap, a Sudanese immigrant, filed civil suit against Salt Lake resident Pedro Sosa-Avilias — the man convicted of running Bap down Sept. 20, 2006, around 11:40 p.m. on 3900 South near Highland Drive. The suit also names Sosa-Avilias' place of work, the Cancun Cafe at 885 E. 3900 South, and his employers at the time, Alain Mendez and Daphne Mendez.

On the night of the accident, Sosa-Avilias had been drinking excessively at the Cancun Cafe before he left around 11 p.m. in his Honda Civic, the suit states. Around the same time, Bap finished his shift at Black Diamond Equipment and started his commute home.

Sosa-Avilias struck Bap from behind while traveling west on 3900 South. Bap was thrown from his bike, struck and shattered the car windshield and landed on the pavement. The suit states Sosa-Avilias didn't brake.

Bap died the next day at 5:30 a.m. Doctors attribute his death to a brain-stem hemorrhage.

"Pedro's conduct in failing to slow down or stop at the scene of the collision caused by his own drunk driving is outrageous in the extreme, shows wanton disregard of the rights and safety of others," the suit states.

Bap, a refugee from a seminomadic community of the Dinka Tribe of southern Sudan, fled his homeland because of violent political conflicts and came to Salt Lake City in 2003. His mother still lives in Sudan, and his brother lives as a refugee in Ontario, Canada.

"(Bap's) heirs have been deprived of his future support, love, care, comfort, affection, society, presence, companionship and protection, extending to survivors in Bap's native African homeland," the suit states.

Sosa-Avilias disputed witness accounts of the accident, saying he stopped his car after the accident and looked around but did not see anything before he continued three blocks to his home. He also said he was not drinking prior to the accident.

Originally charged with negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident, both class A misdemeanors, Sosa-Avilias pleaded guilty to one count of negligent homicide July 19 of this year. Judge Paul Maughan sentenced him to serve 90 days of a one-year sentence and placed him on two years' probation after his release.

The civil suit also names the Mendezes because, it says, they should have known from the circumstances that Pedro was under the influence of alcohol before he left the Cancun Cafe.


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