Do you think it’s fair to charge a bartender for a drunk-driving accident that took place outside of the facility? According to this news report from April 16, Montana authorities must believe it is. In this case, the authorities are looking into the story of a bartender who allegedly served alcohol to a person who later caused a fatal accident. Now, that bartender is facing two charges for serving an intoxicated person and one for obstructing a peace officer.
This wrongful death case shows that it’s not only the driver who can be held responsible in a drunk-driving case, especially if the driver had just been at a bar. The bartender had told the Montana Highway Patrol that the woman who caused the accident had only been at the bar for around an hour with only water to drink. However, according to the trooper, that statement contradicted what the woman and other witnesses had told him.
Because of this, the trooper told the court that the bartender was not telling the truth, and that means that he could have impeded the investigation. According to the woman who was found to be at fault in the accident, she had been at the bar for the entire evening and had only left shortly before she was involved in the fatal accident. That woman has already been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the deaths of a 16-year-old and her 51-year-old grandmother on the East Helena overpass.
Slowing down or misleading an investigation is serious, and if the bartender is convicted in this case, he could face up to six months in jail. He could also face a $500 fine. That punishment could wind up being up to 1.5 years in jail and $1,500 in fines if he is convicted on all three counts against him.
Source: KRTV, “Bartender facing charges in connection with fatal crash” Dennis Carlson, Apr. 16, 2014