Parents file wrongful death lawsuit
It was a slow Saturday night at a popular club in south Macon.
Gary Danny Mimbs had gone to meet friends at Whiskey River on Pio Nono Avenue.
After a few beers and a shot, he got into a fight as he was leaving. Another man slugged him in the head.
Nicholas Maida, a club security guard, was across the room when he heard a commotion and broke up the brawl between Mimbs and 33-year-old Jeremy Jackson.
Maida led Jackson outside. Another guard was walking the 30-year-old Mimbs out of the club when Mimbs collapsed and blacked out.
It was early in the morning on Jan. 16, 2011. Vickie Rich got a phone call about 2:30 a.m. saying her only child, Danny, was on the way to the hospital.
She had a lecture planned by the time shed driven from her home just outside Fort Valley to Macon, thinking his injury wasnt serious.
Hed be fine, she thought.
Walking into his hospital room, Rich saw her son was hooked to a ventilator.
She looked at the machines on the wall that showed his blood pressure and monitored his heart beat and breathing.
Being a nurse, Rich knew the situation was dire.
I started crying, she said.
Hours later, doctors said Mimbs was brain dead. He was taken off life support that Sunday afternoon.
Jackson, the Macon man who had punched Mimbs, was charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Two years later, the case against Jackson is still pending.
Bibb County grand jurors are set to consider this week whether it will go forward to trial.
Jackson has been out on bond since Feb. 23, 2011, according to jail records.
Jackson contends he was just defending himself and that Mimbs was the aggressor, his lawyer Reza Sedghi said.
Sedghi says the fight itself didnt kill Mimbs, but he died from the injuries he got while being carried out of the club.
Mimbs parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Jackson, Whiskey River, its owner and four bouncers.
It angers Rich, Mimbs mother, that the case against the man who fought her son still hasnt been to court.
Hes out there with his family and his children and having a good old time, and Im here with no children, no grandchildren. Never going to have any. Im just at a loss, she said. I lost everything when I lost my child.
We were gentle with him
Mimbs and Jackson had been arguing at the club, according to the lawsuit filed in Bibb County State Court in January.
At some point, Jackson talked with two bouncers about the argument.
Police have said Jackson told security that Mimbs and his friends had approached him.
Michael Chidester, the lawyer representing Mimbs parents, says there are allegations that the bouncers told Jackson they would stay out of the way and he would have a free shot at Mimbs.
Mimbs parents contend bouncers alerted other security staff to be ready to intervene once Jackson struck Mimbs, according to the court filing.
In their lawsuit, Mimbs parents contend Jackson landed several blows and the bouncers, who saw the fight, didnt prevent the attack although they did separate Mimbs and Jackson once it was over.
They say the bouncers were negligent in not warning their son to steer clear of Jackson.
Maida told The Telegraph last week that he didnt have prior knowledge that the fight would occur and he stopped it as soon as possible.
He said his supervisor, Andy Crutchfield, told him and Tommy Malcom, another bouncer, to carry Mimbs outside after he collapsed.
I cupped underneath his arms and I had his head and Tommy had his feet, Maida said.
He said he supported Mimbs head on his waist. It wasnt dangling.
We never dropped him. We never slammed him. We werent rough with him, he said. We were gentle with him.
At one point, Maida and Malcom set Mimbs on the floor to readjust their grip. Outside, they put him on the pavement near a police officer, he said.
Mimbs parents allege in their lawsuit that the bouncers caused or exacerbated an injury to their sons spinal cord and brain stem, which caused his death hours later.
Nobody should have touched him. He should have gotten medical attention right there where he laid on the floor, said Chidester, their lawyer. They may well have broken his neck when they picked him up and moved him.
Blood was pouring from Mimbs nose, he was gurgling as he breathed. Although his eyes were open, he wasnt responsive, according to the court filing.
Mimbs parents also contend in the suit that the club was negligent for failing to provide employees with training about traumatic injuries.
They are asking a judge to award $250,000 in punitive damages, $10,820 for funeral expenses, $42,504 for medical bills, compensation for their sons pain and suffering and other monetary damages.
Clay Johnson, another security guard named in the suit, recently said he hadnt been served with a copy of the lawsuit.
I wasnt involved with this at all, said Johnson, who no longer works at the club.
Maida said he was new at Whiskey River in January 2011 and only worked there for about a year.
The two other bouncers, the clubs owner and his lawyer couldnt be reached for comment.
Next week was too late
Rich last spoke to her son about a week before he died.
He was living with his aunt at the time.
It was a couple weeks after Christmas and she took him a receipt for jeans shed bought him that were the wrong size.
I told him I loved him and he told me he loved me and Ill see you next week, Rich said. Next week was too late.
At the hospital early that January morning, Rich held her sons hand.
Her only child, born the day after Valentines Day 1980, would never wake up.
Six days later, family and friends gathered for a Georgia Bulldogs-themed funeral.
Mimbs, who was buried in a UGA shirt and ball cap, had been an ardent Bulldogs football fan. He also loved watching NASCAR and made trips to Atlanta Motor Speedway.
After high school, he joined the Army and drove tanks at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.
But Army life wasnt for him.
He came home a couple of years later.
Living with friends and family, Mimbs worked a number of jobs trying to find a good fit. He drove a car lot courtesy shuttle, delivered for BudweiserSP in Savannah, worked at the Academy Sports distribution center in Jeffersonville and did stints at an Arbys restaurant and in a Kmart stockroom.
Although hed dated several women, he always broke things off when they got too serious, his mother said.
He was a simple man, Rich said. He didnt care about money. He would help anybody in need.
Rich has joined a support group of parents who have lost children.
Daily, she looks at a scrapbook made up of pictures of her son, mementos and news articles.
Its not that shes afraid shell forget her son.
The pictures give her a memory to focus on for the day.
She tries to stay busy in her nursing job, but sometimes bursts into tears when patients ask how many kids she has.
Im getting better about not losing it, Rich said.
Although shes received letters from people who got her sons donated organs, its too painful for her to write back.
She often visits the plot at Macon Memorial Gardens where he is buried.
Sometimes she pulls a Georgia Bulldogs chair from her car and sits a spell.
She tells her son how much she loves and misses him, about current events in her life.
Sitting in the quiet cemetery, Rich said she thinks her son can hear her voice.
I hope so, she said.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.