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Following TABC certification could have prevented this

November 16, 2013
Serene view of Lake

Stories like this are perfect examples of how easily tragedy could have been prevented, if just one bartender or manager had actually put into action what they hopefully learned in their TABC certification course.

As we discussed here, 26-year-old Madeline Rackley drove her car down a boat ramp into Lady Bird Lake in July 2012. Rackley and the front-seat passenger were able to escape, but the 25-year-old man in the back seat died. The three had been drinking at Lustre Pearl in Austin, and Rackley was intoxicated. Upon investigation, the TABC was able to determine that Rackley was overserved at Lustre Pearl and laws that should have been learned in a TABC certification course were blatantly violated. The TABC fined the bar $40,500 and the victim’s family is suing Rackley, the bar, the bar’s owner and her husband, and two of the bartenders. Did you hear that? … The bartenders are being sued as well. That’s right … If you’re a bartender and choose to do your job with your head shoved so far up your ass that someone dies because of your negligence, then you’ll probably be sued. Doesn’t really matter if you’ve taken a TABC certification course … You have to put those lessons into action and be firm when it comes to cutting off your customers.

So what’s happened to Rackley? She just struck a plea deal with the district attorney. She was initially charged with intoxication manslaughter, but just pleaded down to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony. Here’s a rundown of her punishment:

10 days in jail
10 years probation
200 hours community service
2 year suspension of driver’s license
Ignition interlock device installed on her vehicle for half of probationary period

This is really just the beginning of this story. We still have civil suits against everyone involved, including the bartenders. Stories like this are tragic, yet should be a learning experience for anyone in the service industry. All you have to do is take a TABC certification course and take what you learn and put it into action. It’s not hard, and can keep you from destroying your own life and the lives of others.

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