A South Jersey restaurant where three customers were killed or seriously injured in separate drunk driving crashes will sell its liquor license.
The owners of Tiffany's Restaurant in Toms River agreed to sell the license for serving three visibly intoxicated patrons, the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control said.
“Having an alcoholic beverage license carries the responsibility of monitoring how much your patrons are drinking and ensuring that a patron is not served to the point they are intoxicated or appear intoxicated,” said Michael Halfacre, the division's director.
“Keeping a watchful eye and cutting off patrons may not seem like good business at the time, but it is in the long run. Intoxicated patrons become intoxicated drivers, and those drivers can become tragedies.”
In May 2010, Kelly Walck, 40, was killed when the car she was riding in crashed into a utility pole on Route 37 in Toms River. The driver of that car, Laura Nelson, had a blood alcohol content more than three times the legal limit of .08. Nelson, who is serving four years in state prison for vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated, told investigators she had been drinking with Walck and another person for 90 minutes before she got behind the wheel.
Less than three months later, a woman who had been drinking at Tiffany's for three hours died when her car collided with a bus. Toni Lebert, 31, had a blood alcohol content of .255, according to the state.
A third crash tied to Tiffany's occurred in Nov. 2006 when a man who had been drinking at the restaurant crashed his motorcycle into a car, seriously injuring him. His blood alcohol content was .196, according to the state.
The license must be sold by July 2015, and the owners also must pay a $200,000 fine.
No one answered the phone at the restaurant Friday morning and its voicemail was not accepting messages.