OHIO — The Ohio Investigative Unit gave citations to six establishments in Ohio overnight for violating orders put into place meant to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
The liquor-permitted establishments were given citations after investigators witnessed the violations.
The establishments cited include the following:
Patio Tavern, Lakewood: Ohio Investigative Units say they observed multiple alcoholic beverages being served to patrons inside the establishments between 10:30 and 10:50 p.m. The agents also observed a lack of social distancing and patrons gathering around the bar area.
Bella Doma Party House, Whitehall: Investigators say then entered the establishments around 11:30 p.m. and witnessed more than 40 people drinking alcoholic beverages inside.
Winkin Willys, Washington Court House: Agents say upon entering the premises at 10:30 p.m., they were able to purchase an alcoholic beverage.
Stephens Fine Dining, Athens: The establishment received a citation for disorderly activities, sales to an intoxicated person, permitting removal of an alcoholic beverage sold for on premises consumption, insanitary conditions, failure to notify the division of expansion or change to the permit premises, and operating more than two fixed bars.
The Crystal Bar, Athens: The bar received a citation for disorderly activity, according to investigators.
The CI Bar, Athens: The bar received a citation for disorderly activity.
The Ohio Investigative Unit said the three citations given to establishments in Athens were a result of a trace-back investigation from a fatal crash that occurred July 4.
Alcohol involvement was suspected in the crash where Christopher M. Witcher Jr., 21, of Columbus was driving a 2012 Jeep Wrangler southbound on Stewart Street near East Union Street in the city of Athens.
The Jeep had an excessive amount of passengers when it attempted a sudden left turn into a parking lot and struck a curb, stated a media release.
One of the passengers, Dion Terrance Hill-Delaney, 24, of Reynoldsburg, was ejected from the vehicle and reportedly died from injuries.
During the crash investigation, agents watched surveillance video at the three locations and were able to determine that each of them had violated the Ohio Department of Health orders July 4, the night of the fatal crash.
In all three cases agents observed patrons walking around with alcoholic beverages, standing shoulder to shoulder, no social distancing and employees not properly wearing masks, they stated.
Trace-back investigations are routinely conducted by Ohio Investigative Unit agents to determine whether alcohol was illegally sold or provided to an already-intoxicated person involved in an alcohol-related crash or incident.