By Michelle Manchir
11:21 AM CDT, July 17, 2014
The father of an Elk Grove Village man who drowned in the Chicago River in April after becoming intoxicated is suing a topless bar, claiming its employees kicked his son out without ensuring that he left safely.
Police found the body of Ryan McClelland, 30, on April 6 in the North Branch of the Chicago River west of Lincoln Park.
An autopsy revealed McClelland drowned, with alcohol intoxication a secondary factor in his death, in an accident, officials told the Tribune.
According to the wrongful death suit filed Wednesday in Cook County Court by Thomas McClelland, his son had been at VIP’s Gentlemen’s Club in Goose Island, and employees asked him to leave without ensuring he was provided aid or “reasonable care,” despite his “condition.”
Thomas McClelland’s attorney, Colin Dunn, said the business owners had a duty “that, if they’re aware that (a customer ) is in bad condition, that they need to take some steps to make sure they receive aid and then to follow up and make sure that they don’t just let them walk away.”
Officials were called to the 1500 block of North Kingsbury Street, the same block the topless bar is in, the evening of April 6 for a possibly missing male whose clothes and shoes had been found in the area, officials told the Tribune around the time of Ryan McClelland’s death. McClelland’s body was found about two hours later in the river.
Dunn said Ryan McClelland was a son, brother and uncle. He’d been living with his parents in Elk Grove Village at the time of his death, Dunn said.
“The family’s just torn apart,” Dunn said.
The suit seeks compensation for three counts of wrongful death.
An owner or spokesperson for the club could not be reached Wednesday night.
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