Bartenders are criminally charged after drunk patron allegedly causes fatal car accident

Two bartenders have been criminally charged after an intoxicated patron left their bar and allegedly caused a fatal crash.

Texas bartenders Shafay Look, 34, and Jon Ward, 56, of the Island Pier Club in Galveston, Texas, were charged with “selling an alcoholic beverage to an intoxicated person” — a 50-year-old woman named Gerilyn Weberlein — who in June allegedly crashed her car into two bicyclists 15 minutes after leaving the bar.

According to the Houston Chronicle, both victims were treated in the emergency room; one suffered a broken arm and cuts, and the other, a 23-year-old man named Marco Beltran, died the following morning.

The Chronicle reports that the bar’s surveillance video showed Look and Ward serving Weberlein despite her spilling drinks, stumbling, and needing the assistance of other customers to stand.

According to local news station Fox 26, Weberlein was charged with intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter. Look and Ward each face a fine of up to $500 and one year in jail.

The bartenders’ arrest raises the question, should servers be held accountable for what patrons do after leaving a bar?

An Island Pier Club employee declined to comment to Yahoo Lifestyle, and a spokesperson from the Galveston Police Department did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.

Beltran’s lawyer, Sean O’Rourke, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that in Texas, where drinking and driving is a common crime, a statute is in place that requires responsibly serving alcohol. “Bartenders have a duty to make sure people aren’t over-served, and in this case, police feel they may be able to convict based on the surveillance video,” O’Rourke says. “If you serve a person who is slurring her speech and stumbling, you’re compounding a dangerous situation.”

He adds, “Marco’s family in Galveston is happy to see there’s been an effort to look at all the causes that go into how these incidents occur.”

In another case, in 2011, an intoxicated man left the Southside Bar & Grill in Texas and died after driving the wrong way down an interstate, colliding with a motorist, according to My San Antonio. The accident caused the amputation of the victim’s leg, among other injuries, and the bar was found 75 percent liable for the crash, paying $2.7 million in damages.

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