This is most definitely a tragedy for the family of the deceased minor and my sincere condolences go out to them. However, I am totally in agreement that she must have accountability for drinking the amount of alcohol which she irresponsibly consumed, drove at an exceedingly high speed, and perused other bars that night. She also committed a crime by using fake I.D. These were willful actions on her part or actions taken because of the disinhibition of that amount of alcohol in her system, but one way or another, she must take a large part of the responsibility of her tragic death and the injuries suffered by the occupant of the other vehicle she hit. Where is the responsibility of the person that provided her with that fake I.D. and why are they not being charged with a crime? Whether a drink could be verified to be "placed in her hand" or not at the other bars, the mere fact that she was in the other bars both before AND AFTER arriving at the Liquid Room, and BEFORE SHE DROVE DRUNK, one would infer that she was there to drink, giving reasonable doubt as to the direct connection between her being served at the Liquid Room and the accident that caused her death and injured another party. In addition, the extremely high amount of alcohol that was reported to be in her system; approximately equal to 25 drinks, could not have possibly been served nor consumed within the time period that she was placed in the Liquid Room. That high an amount of alcohol in a blood test is almost unheard of and most people would have either passed out or their body's natural reaction to vomit in order to rid it of the alcohol and not become alcohol poisoned would kick in. This is indicative of an alcoholic with an extremely high tolerance to alcohol. Since she LAST left the Ritz, whether or not she actually even drank there seems mute, because they still have the responsibility of not allowing an obviously intoxicated patron to leave their establishment without trying to conviscate her keys or find her someone to take her home or get a taxi for her, so why are they not being held accountable for that?
Most importantly, the bartender at the Liquid Room was bartending for his first night alone without a barback and DID NOT receive training from the ALE which is a huge missing fact unknown to the public at large, nor from the bar itself, nor ever received a policy manual, or was verbally instructed by the management about the rules of double checking ID's and this was also NEVER role-modeled for him through his training period under the supervision of other bartenders. They did not card people while training him so again he was not informed in any manner that it was a law that he needed to follow. Since this was his first bartending job, he had no previous experience to draw from.
Therefore, how could he as a brand new bartender truly be accountable to follow the regulations of the ALE when he was never informed of them? He also had previously seen her drinking at that bar as well as other local establishments which led him to believe that she was of age in addition to the fact that she passed the check at the door. The text message that keeps getting referred to was a "mass text message" where he wrote to many people inviting them to join him at the club, promoting his first night in order to bring in customers and try to encourage people to come to the bar and to gain loyal customers since that is how a bartender earns their living. This particular customer is one that returned his text inquiring about the specials, so it appeared that it was a one-on-one text, but really it went out to several people. The bartender has since erased those messages from his phone, however, someone with enough computer and cell phone hardware knowledge should be able to retrieve this information to verify his statements. Yes her number was in his phone from having had brief encounters with her around town, but they were not friends and he definitely did not know her on a "personal" basis. They did not socialize in the same groups of people. The bartender has many "aquaintances" phone numbers in his phone, but that does not imply that they were/are all his personal friends; the total amount of phone numbers he possesses is approximating the cut-off amount allowed in your blackberry contacts address book.
It was truly irresponsible for the bar to have put an inexperienced bartender on duty by himself with no back-up either by a bar back to assist him or by management serving along side of him, which the co-owner had to finally do when the traffic became to much for the bartender to handle singularly on a busy night at about 11 P.M., which naturally made him more anxious in making sure his bar was properly set-up and that he was equipped in serving the customers in a timely manner AND more importantly in not providing him the necessary and VITAL information that would, if given, possibly prevented this tragedy from occurring at all. Although the bar is currently trying to regain their license to re-open, they are not subject to any criminal charges, unlike the bartender, therefore, basically he is being made the fall guy out of all the bars the deceased girl visited that evening strictly because he was truthful about having had served her 2 beers and a shot of liquor, while others are most likely using the excuse of "not to my recollection" or committing out and out perjury during the ALE's investigation, or the ALE did not perhaps do a thorough investigation once they had an honest response from one bartender they could already charge.
The motivation of anyone here other than the bartender who told the truth during the investigation and did so without his attorney present, is unclear, however, the unfairness of the fault being put on this ONE unprepared NEW bartender, without taking into consideration these mitigating factors, such as the lack of a second check NOT being conducted due NOT to his fault but due to the lack of appropriate training and guidelines taught and enforced by the bar's management is totally for everyone else's self-protection at his expense; where basically he is being forsaked so that a criminal charge can be made in order to pave the way for further civil litigation against the bar. If the bar can, however, prove that it was the fault of the bartender only, and not theirs, then it helps make their case that they should get their license back, despite the criminal consequences to the bartender and helps them to be in a better position to defend themselves against any future civil law-suits that they may be charged with.
To support this thinking, in the newspaper article where the co-owner, Lee Hauser was interviewed, he stated that they continue to educate their staff, while it has been said by others, although the information has not been confirmed, that after this incident and this bartender let go of his position with the bar, they then brought in the ALE training for their staff. If they already had it and there were no new employees, a reasonable assumption since they were closed for business, then why would they then be offering this training to their existing staff who should have already received it? This whole thing reeks with dishonesty and everyone covering their own butts regardless of what the real facts of the case are, other than the bartender himself. In not one interview either in the newspaper nor the T.V. has the bartender nor his attorney been asked to give their understanding of the facts. The media cover on this unfortunate "news story" seems to be very imbalanced. I have to ask myself why?
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