Skip to content

Too Many Wisconsin Bartenders Beat Wrap Of Over-Serving Drunks At Taverns

July 30, 2012

Wisconsin is awash in beer and alcohol sales, along with the deadly side-effects of too many intoxicated people on the roads.  This summer, like so many others in Wisconsin not only comes with plenty of sunshine but also too many drunk driving accidents, and deaths.

One of the ways to curtail the number of senseless deaths is creating laws that work to stem the problem.  One way to achieve this objective is to make sure that those who serve the drinks at taverns are stone sober.  Only then can sound judgements be made about who should, and should not be served. I suspect in a number of bars this is one contributing factor to over-serving patrons.

I support outright a requirement that people serving alcohol have none of it in their system. This bill has been introduced in past legislative sessions, most recently by Rep. Josh Zepnick.  There were plenty of people opposed to this measure from the beer-soaked Tavern  League, but I think it a correct idea.

I have long argued that those who own the bars, and pour the drinks, need to be held more accountable for their customers who leave with too much alcohol in their system. If a person pouring the drinks has a full sense of his/her surroundings they might be better able to determine who should, and should not, be buying another glass. There must be accountability by tavern owners for what they not only pour into a glass, but also pour out into the streets that then get behind a wheel.

It is too hard for police to show that a person at a tavern or bar was exhibiting signs of intoxication prior to be severed still more alcohol.   One of the times when a clear–at least in my mind–incident took place where a person was over-served took place in Marathon County.

Timothy L. Fehlandt 52, of Ringle, was drinking April 11, 2010, at Arrow Sports Bar & Grill in Weston. Amanda Bruski, a bartender at Arrow, later told Everest Metro police that she served Fehlandt two rum-and-Cokes and two or three shots of tequila, according to the criminal complaint. She also said that it appeared that Fehlandt had been drinking before he arrived at the tavern.

Bruski and other witnesses told police that Fehlandt refused offers for a ride home. Fehlandt then left the Arrow, rolled his vehicle on Schofield Avenue and was killed.

Sparks asked Marathon County District Attorney Ken Heimerman to file an overserving charge against Bruski and Heimerman obliged, but Bruski beat the charge after a judge ruled that police failed to demonstrate that Fehlandt showed signs of intoxication at the tavern.

There is a growing segment of the citizenry that knows there has to be a reduction of drunk drivers on the roads, and we are urging elected officials to ante up with sound and workable legislation. As many have noted with alarm and disgust, there is something wrong with Wisconsin, a place with so many drunk drivers and bloodshed, but also the place with the most lax laws on the books to deal with the problem.

Police and emergency responders came across a horrific crashscene during the early-morning hours of April 29.

The bodies of Scott Dean, 29, of Whiting; Nicholas Czech, 25, of Stevens Point; and Joseph Trzebiatowski, 19, of Linwood, were found on Highway 66 in the town of Linwood after their vehicle crashed after a night of bar hopping.

Dean, the suspected driver, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.34 percent at the time of the crash, authorities said.

Sheriff’s detectives investigated rumors that the three had been at multiple bars around Stevens Point before the crash, but only one — Morey’s Bar — confirmed the three had been there.

A bartender at Morey’s was given a citation for serving a minor — Trzebiatowski — but Portage County Sheriff John Charewicz said investigators couldn’t not find enough witnesses or other information to prove the three victims were overserved

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: