April 25, 2014

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Avon Lake bartender dies of crash injuries

AVON LAKE — An Avon Lake bartender died Sunday after spending more than a month in Fairview Hospital fighting injuries sustained in a July motorcycle crash.

Cuyahoga County Coroner Frank Miller said 40-year-old Gil F. Palacios died because of complications from blunt force trauma to the torso. The coroner also found evidence of pneumonia.

Palacios was taken to Fairview after the July 8 crash in Bay Village.
“Gil was big on motorcycle safety,” said Jim DePaul, who owns the Savannah Bar and Grill in Westlake, where Palacios worked. “It was a shock to learn he was in a motorcycle accident.”

DePaul said Palacios had worked for the bar for five years, bringing with him a devoted following of customers and turning new patrons into regulars.

“He was so respected in this industry,” DePaul said. “He was always worried about our customers and their safety. If someone had too much to drink, he would drive them home.”

Employees at the Savannah Grill teamed up with regular customers for a series of fundraisers originally intended to help Palacios pay his medical expenses and take care of his daughter, who will celebrate her eighth birthday next week.

DePaul said friends and coworkers raised $4,000 for Palacios during a car wash and bake sale two weeks after the crash.
Now the Savannah Grill is planning more fundraisers, this time, to help with the cost of the funeral and to start a scholarship fund for Palacio’s daughter.

DePaul is planning a blues benefit jam at Savannah Aug. 30, where local artists will perform for a $10 fee with all proceeds going to pay funeral expenses and support Palacio’s family.

Savannah also will auction off a guitar and put on a raffle in the bar’s party room. And employees are hosting a garage sale beginning at 10 a.m. Sept. 1 at 26784 Detroit Road in Westlake.

Bay Village police did not return calls requesting details on the accident, and Bay Village fire Chief James Sammon said his department did not have records for the crash.

Contact Ben Norris at 329-7000 or bnorris@chroniclet.com.