SPRINGDALE (KFSM) -- The Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division has revoked Springdale Civic Center's alcohol permit after two people died in an alcohol-related crash in March, according to documents from the ABC.
On March 13, Julio Cesar Galan-Picasso, who was 19 and therefore too young to buy alcohol legally, came to the Springdale Civic Center, which lists itself as a concert and event venue on Facebook, and was given a rubber wrist band that allowed him to buy liquor, the documents state. Two of his friends were also given wrist bands.
By closing time, a witness stated Galan-Picasso was extremely drunk. The witness said he was swaying side to side, struggling to balance himself and nodding in and out of consciousness, according to the documents.
The witness and two of her friends went to a club next door and Galan-Picasso followed them, but none of them drank any more alcohol, the documents state.
After an hour, Galan-Picasso and his two friends left in a Chevy pickup truck. Galan-Picasso was the driver and his two friends were passengers, according to the documents.
Galan-Picasso drove the truck into a tree at 90 miles an hour, killing both of his passengers instantly, the documents state. Galan-Picasso survived.
A blood sample showed Galan-Picasso had a blood alcohol content level of .185, which is over twice the legal limit, according to the documents.
In his report, Bud Roberts, ABC Director concludes: "Maybe the Permittee's job -- the job of safely serving alcohol to so many patrons -- is too demanding for this Club. Impossible even. Maybe the Springdale Civic Center's business model is not conducive to the task -- serving customers in a manner which is in the public interest and does not endanger the public health, welfare, or safety."
He later writes: "We lack direct evidence of any other source of alcohol. Even if [Galan-Picasso] had drunk more just before the fatal crash, one fact remains: The Springdale Civic Center's violations directly contributed to the death of two young men."
Following the fatal crash, a team of FBI agents, Springdale police officers and ABC enforcement agents revisited the Springdale Civic Center on April 9.
According to the documents, the agents and officers witnessed the following:
- at least one bloody fight between patrons,
- at least five patrons being over-served alcohol,
- at least one customers allowed to leave the club with an open beer in hand,
- at least 13 patrons allowed to consume alcohol after permitted serving hours,
- at least 42 full, cold beers sitting on surfaces in front of customers after permitted hours,
- many beers cans and bottles littering the parking lot,
- innumerable cans, containers, boxes cut into trays and pools of standing beer all over the floor inside the club,
- at least two minors, one 17 and the other 19, allowed to drink alcohol.
The violations listed above and the crash involving Galan-Picasso followed a 30-day suspension and fine and despite an ongoing probation period, the documents state.
Roberts concludes the letter with: "The violations were so many in number, and so egregious in magnitude, that it has become clear: The Springdale Civic Center cannot proceed as a good steward of the ABC."
The club's permit will be revoked on June 16.
Roberts told 5NEWS the ABC rarely revokes an alcohol permit. He said the ABC has only revoked six permits in the last 25 years.
The owner of the Springdale Civic Center directed a request for comment to his attorney.
"[Galan] was not served beer by the SCC. He was not sold beer by the SCC. Rather his friends bought the beer and served him," said James Crouch, attorney for the Springdale Civic Center. "Patrons of SCC are only entitled to drink if they have an ID demonstrating that are 21 years old."
Crouch argued there was no proof Galan didn't leave the event center, in order to consume alcohol elsewhere.
"The fatal wreck occurred one and a half hours after he left the SCC. It remains to be determined if Mr. Galan and his friends consumed alcohol after they left the SCC," Crouch said.
During a hearing following the deaths of Galan-Picasso's passengers, the club's permittee, Edward Vega, questioned whether the men drank alcohol the club had not served them, but there was no evidence to support that argument, Roberts' letter states.
Vega also tried to elicit police testimony about a box in a ditch near the wreckage. He implied the box might have contained a whiskey bottle, but he did not produce a witness who actually saw the box and police photos do not show a bottle near the crash, according to the letter.
Vega did show a video of one of the passengers in a vehicle pouring whiskey in a cup and laughing, but the video had been copied from a social media post and had not time or date stamp, the letter states. Galan-Picasso was also not pictured in the video.
Crouch said ownership intended to appeal the ruling.