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State: Milwaukie bar cares about DUII safety

State investigators said employees of Gilmore’s Meadow, 5823 S.E. Johnson Creek Blvd., Milwaukie, took appropriate action to prevent an intoxicated customer from consuming more alcohol and tried to stop her from driving.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission last week finalized a month-long investigation into the DUII crash at Johnson Creek and 58th Avenue that occurred about 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21. Lauren Louise Felton, 51, of Northeast Portland, and the other vehicle’s driver, Ronald Eugene Preuett, were both taken to the hospital.

The results of the investigation do not indicate that the Felton’s level of intoxication was due to over-service by the employees. Evidence also shows that employees removed the alcohol from the intoxicated customer once she began showing signs of visible intoxication, tried to prevent her from leaving the building, called a taxi cab for her and called police when she insisted on driving.

When an incident involving drinking and driving happens at a liquor licensed business, OLCC inspectors consider whether or not the customer was visibly intoxicated and if the employees took measures to prevent the incident.

“The employees in this case did just what the Alcohol Server Education training teaches them to do,” said John Eckhart, of OLCC’s public-safety department. “When they noticed she was unstable on her feet and eyes were glossy, they immediately removed her drink and replaced it with water. They offered her a safe ride home and tried persistently to stop her from driving. It was clear that the employees cared about her safety and the safety of other drivers on the road.”

In this case, there were several indicators that led employees to cutting the customer off from alcohol service. However, there are many signs of visible intoxication.

“Bloodshot eyes alone, could be allergy-related and not necessarily an indicator of intoxication,” Eckhart said. “Servers and bartenders should look for a combination of signs. However, they always have the right to refuse service if they’re not sure. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”