AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is investigating the source of alcohol served to a man charged with intoxication manslaughter after an auto-pedestrian crash that killed a man in south Austin.
The investigation began after 24-year-old Paul Joseph Garcia, Jr., indicated to Austin police he had consumed alcohol at multiple businesses prior to the crash. TABC says the investigation will seek to determine whether those businesses served alcohol to an intoxicated customer prior to the crash. Under Texas law, alcohol retailers are required to decline service to any person who shows signs of intoxication.
Austin police say Garcia was driving while intoxicated on Menchaca Road when he fatally struck a pedestrian pushing a shopping cart around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. According to police, the force of the impact left the victim lodged in the passenger section of the driver’s vehicle. Garcia allegedly continued for at least half a mile before coming to a stop.
He then left the vehicle and continued on foot until reaching the South Austin Beer Garden, where staff stopped him from entering the building before calling police, says TABC. Garcia was arrested and charged with intoxication manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid.
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Businesses cited for selling alcohol to an intoxicated person could face a civil fine up to $7,200 as well as a temporary suspension of their license to sell alcohol. Extreme cases, or those involving repeat offenses, could result in cancellation of the business’ license, says TABC.
"Retailers are the folks who sell the alcohol and that makes them the first line of defense when it comes to preventing the sale of alcohol to intoxicated people and preventing these types of deaths," said Chris Porter, TABC Information Officer. "Most of the time 95 percent of the time we see businesses refusing business to these patrons but again in those businesses where it does take place TABC is empowered by the legislature to hold those businesses accountable and then once everything is taking care of get those businesses back into compliance so they can continue operations."
The case remains under investigation by TABC and the Austin Police Department. TABC is declining to name either business until the investigation is complete.