A bartender in Lake Worth was arrested for allegedly overserving a patron who got behind the wheel and killed a police officer.
The arrest of Cala Richardson, a bartender from a local Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, was announced on Friday.
“Like most serious alcohol-related crashes, this case has devastated an entire family,” J.T. Manoushagian, Lake Worth police chief, said in a statement, per Fox 4.
“Today’s arrest fulfills a commitment we made early on — and that was to fully investigate this senseless crime and hold those responsible accountable.”
Dylan Molina, 26, was sentenced last week for the November 2021 death of off-duty Euless detective Alex Cervantes in a car crash that took place in Lake Worth, which also injured Cervantes’ wife and two children, as reported by The Dallas Express.
Molina pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter and multiple charges of intoxication assault.
Richardson allegedly served Molina eight vodka and Red Bull beverages over the course of three hours prior to his getting behind the wheel, according to WFAA.
Police also allege that Richardson’s license from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code was expired at the time she served Molina.
Tom Hall, a lawyer from Fort Worth, told The Dallas Express that he did not think Richardson could mount much of a defense.
“Her license was expired, and the legislative scheme that is in place is that if your people are licensed and obeying a law, there is a safe harbor provision that shields the bar from liability,” Hall said. “But it is technical. If your license is expired, you are not in compliance with the law.”
He said that the Texas Dram Shop Act increased statutory liability for businesses also.
“The Texas legislature put this law in place to keep you from overserving patrons. You’re either in compliance or out of compliance,” he said, explaining that if you serve without a license, “you personally expose your company to civil liability” and potentially criminal liability.
He said if there is a video showing Richardson serving Molina eight drinks one after the other, it would be a strong piece of evidence.
“The video will sail right on into evidence,” Hall said. “Jurors pay attention to videotape.”
According to the TABC, bartenders are not supposed to serve alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated.
Richardson was charged with one count of “Sale to Certain Persons,” which is a “Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $4,000 fine.”
Calls placed by The Dallas Express to the Lake Worth Police Department were not returned by press time.
The Dallas Express also called Fuzzy’s Taco Shop but was told staff were unaware of the incident.
Dallas police reported 1,234 arrests for driving under the influence through mid-November 2022, according to The Dallas Morning News, an ongoing issue that the Dallas City Council so far has failed to address.
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