Iowa Casino Patron Served Several Drinks, Later Drives Into Police Car, Lawsuit Claims

Posted on: April 19, 2021, 11:42h. 

Last updated on: April 20, 2021, 10:51h.

Iowa’s Lakeside Hotel Casino and parent company Affinity Gaming were sued recently by a West Des Moines police officer. He was seriously injured by an alleged drunk driver who had been at the gaming property hours before, according to a lawsuit. The court action claims the casino’s servers should have cut the driver off from additional drinks.

The officer suffered head injuries
West Des Moines, Iowa Police Officer Jon Kaufman shown here. He suffered injuries when an alleged drunk driver collided into his police car. Kaufman is now suing the driver and the casino which served the driver drinks. (Image: West Des Moines Police)

The Des Moines Register, citing the lawsuit, said Jon Schwartz, 61, of Kellogg, drove a rental car after having several drinks last November at the casino. The car he was driving allegedly struck a cruiser in which Officer Jon Kaufman sat.

Kaufman’s attorney claims Schwartz drove the car after having at least 11 beers at the Osceola casino on Nov. 7, according to gaming property surveillance video.

Lakeside employees “knew, or should have known, that Schwartz was intoxicated, or would become intoxicated,” the lawsuit said.

Good Samaritan Tries To Intervene

Kaufman’s attorney, Erik Luthens, also said that another patron at Lakeside told police after the accident he had discouraged Schwartz from driving while both were in the casino. The patron also asked Schwartz to walk a straight line in a test similar to what officers request of possible drunk drivers, the Register said.

Schwartz failed the rudimentary test, the attorney claims, based on casino video.

The patron was so concerned he told casino employees about Schwartz’s condition soon after Schwartz left the property, the lawsuit said. But they allegedly did not alert police or take other precautions.

That night, Kaufman was in a parked police cruiser assigned to an accident site. He was waiting for a tow truck when the car driven by Schwartz struck the cruiser.

Schwartz was charged with serious injury by a motor vehicle and first-offense operating while intoxicated, the Register said.

Even two hours after the accident, Schwartz had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.104, according to court records. Typically, a .08 percent blood alcohol level is the legal limit for drivers.

Schwartz told Iowa State Patrol investigators he had been drinking that day, was playing a movie in his car, and was using cruise control and lane assist technology, according to a police report cited by the Register.

HGI-Lakeside LLC, Z Capital Group, and Las Vegas-based Affinity Gaming is each named in Kaufman’s lawsuit.

None of the companies responded to the Register’s requests for comment. also reached out to Affinity Gaming, but not hear back immediately. Schwartz was also sued.

Affinity Gaming is also the owner of the Silver Sevens Casino in Las Vegas, as well as other gaming properties.

Police Officer Suffers Head Injuries

Kaufman reportedly suffered a head injury from the crash. He reportedly was in and out of consciousness for about a week following the collision.

But the Register reported he was able to return to full duty last month.