http://wnyt.com/article/stories/S3539252.shtml Updated: 08/21/2014 9:58 PM Created: 08/21/2014 7:37 PM WNYT.com By: Steve Flamisch CLIFTON PARK – The parents of Deanna Rivers and Christopher Stewart, the Shenendehowa High School seniors who died in a car crash on the Northway in Halfmoon in December 2012, filed lawsuits Thursday in state Supreme Court seeking unspecified damages. Rivers’ parents, Brian and Deborah Rivers, and Stewart’s parents, Mike and Regina Stewart, told reporters their legal action is motivated by a desire to hold the responsible parties accountable, and not by a quest for money. "Accountability for those who played a part in that tragic evening is really proper," Regina Stewart said, asserting that key facts about the deadly crash did not emerge in the criminal case because of the speed with which it was resolved. The families are suing Dennis Drue, who is serving a five to 15-year sentence for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and causing the fatal crash, and Drue’s mother, Gail Pendergast, the registered owner of the vehicle he was driving. The lawsuits also name the Koto Japanese Restaurant, 260 Wolf Rd. in Colonie, where Drue was drinking before the accident, and Koto waiter Shu Zheng and Koto bartender Tanhokan Purnomo, who allegedly served Drue alcoholic beverages that night. "Whether you’re a bartender, whether you’re a waiter of a particular establishment, you still have to be the responsible person to have it stop there," Mike Stewart said. The lawsuits allege Drue was "visibly intoxicated" at the restaurant. New York’s alcoholic beverage control law states, "No person shall sell or give away any alcoholic beverages to any… visibly intoxicated person." Another law, the Dram Shop Act, permits victims and their loved ones to file a lawsuit in such cases. Tehen Yu, a managing partner at Koto, told NewsChannel 13 he and his partners took over the restaurant in October 2013. Yu said he did not have contact information for the previous owners, whom the plaintiffs’ attorneys are seeking through the Secretary of State. Zheng no longer works at Koto, Yu said. Purnomo still works at the restaurant, but he was too busy during the lunch rush to speak to a NewsChannel 13 reporter, and not likely to comment on the lawsuit filed against him, Yu said. Attempts to reach Drue’s attorney were unsuccessful. It appeared that Drue’s mother, Pendergast, was not home Thursday afternoon. She did not immediately call or e-mail a NewsChannel 13 reporter who left a business card on her door. It would likely be 18 months before the civil case would go to trial, according to the plaintiffs’ attorneys. Kevin Luibrand, of the Luibrand Law Firm, is representing the Rivers. John Powers, of Powers & Santola, LLP, is representing the Stewarts. The attorneys said they will seek a jury trial, and the jury would most likely determine how much, if any, money the Rivers and Stewarts receive. Both families said they would give most of the money to foundations they are setting up to benefit others. The Rivers told NewsChannel 13 they are working toward a partnership with a local hospital to provide money for sick children. The Stewarts said they are still ironing out the details of a foundation in their son’s name. Both families have surviving children. "We didn’t ask to be put in the position that we’re in," said Deanna Rivers’ father, Brian Rivers. "We didn’t ask for this lifestyle. We’re two hard-working American families just trying to take care of our children, and do the best we can for them."