Ewings won't sue in daughter's death

By Errol Castens

Daily Journal Oxford Bureau

OXFORD – The mother of a 23-year-old University of Mississippi pharmacy student struck and killed by a drunk driver as she left an Ole Miss football game Sept. 4, 2004, says her family will not take civil legal action.

In May, a Lafayette County jury acquitted Dustin Dill on a charge of aggravated DUI in the death of Amie Ewing. Dill, who was a 19-year-old Ole Miss student at the time of the crash, had a 0.12 percent blood alcohol content. Eyewitnesses testified poor visibility would have prevented even a sober driver's avoiding the tragedy.

Dill's conviction on the criminal charge would have required proof of additional neglect – speeding, failure to control his vehicle or other carelessness – beyond his drunkenness.

According to several attorneys who commented on the case, however, driving under the influence is automatically considered neglect under civil laws and likely would win a verdict for the Ewing family. But they say they don't have the heart for it.

Rita Ewing, Amie's mother, said the family will not sue Dill in civil court “for several reasons – one of which is because we cannot go through the pain again.”

Dill's attorney said he had advised him not to speak to the Ewings until the trial was over. After the May 12 verdict, Dill told the Daily Journal he now intended to express his sympathy.

“My heart's been with them the whole time,” he said.

But hurt feelings remain.

Rita Ewing said she has heard nothing from the young man, who has resumed his academics in his home state of Florida.

“I never really expected to (hear from Dill) as he never acted like he felt any remorse whatsoever,” she said. “Obviously Dustin Dill is not sorry for hitting our daughter and causing her death.”

Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com