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Soldotna woman charges Kenai woman with providing alcohol to 16-year-old before fatal 4-wheeler accident

Mother claims negligence in death of teenage son

Posted: Monday, January 15, 2007

The Soldotna mother of a 16-year-old who died in July has filed a civil suit against a Kenai woman claiming the woman corrupted minors and bears responsibility for the death of her son.

Holden Hollenberg died July 7 after his four-wheeler crashed into a gate sometime before 12:30 a.m. while driving toward Beaver Loop Road on Lawton Drive, a gravel utility access road in Kenai.

Holden and a companion with him already had driven around one gate blocking access on the gravel road and were approaching a second when Holden accelerated, left his companion behind and crashed into the second gate, a swinging gate made of metal pipes.

The complaint filed by Holden’s mother, Nicole Hollenberg, and her attorney, Gregory Grebe, accuses 29-year-old Melody Luze of regularly holding parties where she encouraged Holden and other minors to drink alcohol and satisfied “her own personal and sometimes salacious desires.”

The complaint further claims Luze was supervising and provided Holden with alcohol the night he died.

Court documents did not say how much, if any, alcohol was found in Holden’s blood the night he died and Lt. Kim Wannamaker with Kenai police said he could not answer questions about the case, including whether investigators found evidence that Holden had been drinking alcohol the night of his death.

In a response to the complaint, Luze denied the allegations.

The complaint, however, claims Luze’s negligence resulted in Holden’s. Hollenberg is seeking more than $50,000 from Luze for the loss of her son and $50,000 in punitive damages.

Hollenberg also is seeking $50,000 from the city of Kenai, which the complaint claims should have known the gated road was regularly used by ATV and four-wheeler riders and that without reflectors, signs or other markings to warn riders, the closed gate Holden crashed into presented a dangerous hazard.

Hollenberg and her attorney said they could not publicly comment on the case.

Luze answered a call made to her home Friday and confirmed that she is 29 years old, but otherwise declined to comment on the case. Luze’s attorney could not be reached.

The attorney representing the city of Kenai, Susan Orlansky, declined to answer questions about the case.

Patrice Kohl can be reached at patrice.kohl@peninsulaclarion.com.



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