A 16-year-old boy is dead and another teenager is facing aggravated involuntary manslaughter charges due to the irresponsible actions of an ABC liquor store owner. The Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control board suspended the liquor license of a store owner on Indian River Road in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA) who sold three cans of “Four Loko” alcoholic energy drinks to a teenager. The teen subsequently crashed his car into a tree.
The suspension is warranted considering this is the second time the store owner got in trouble for selling alcohol to minors. The owner was fined $100 back in March for the same offense, according to The Virginian Pilot.
The outrage from the Hampton Roads community has been abundant. Here is a message posted by a VA citizen on the Pilot message board:
“Ask any 16 year old where to buy booze and they have a list of stores that cater to the underage, it’s a disgrace. I have heard in conversations of 15-year-olds buying booze repeatedly at certain stores. Can’t there be more sanctions on these purveyors of death and fast bucks? We need more enforcement of the law and let’s put some of these jokers in the slammer and seize their assets.”
I share the frustration. Having to read about these types of preventable car accidents is deeply troubling, especially when a VA liquor store owner contributed to the tragic incident.
I am not trying to excuse the behavior of the at-fault teen driver. Clearly, drinking and driving is wholly unacceptable. But the responsibility of liquor store owners is written in black and white and all owners must abide by the laws. Unfortunately, far too many owners fail to follow the law and awful car wrecks often occur as a result.
We need stronger enforcement and must send a clear message that selling alcohol to minors will not be tolerated in VA.
About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.