Galveston bartender accused of improperly serving suspect in deadly golf cart crash

Briana Conner Image
Thursday, September 29, 2022
Bartender accused of improperly serving suspect in deadly crash
A bartender at Gloria's Lounge is accused of improperly serving the man accused of crashing into a golf cart and killing four people in Galveston.

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- More than a month after four people were killed in a Galveston golf cart crash involving an alleged drunk driver, a bartender accused of improperly serving the suspect has been arrested, according to authorities.

On Sept. 26, Gil Garcia was arrested by Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission agents after it was alleged that he served 45-year-old Miguel Espinoza, who is facing charges in a deadly crash.

Garcia was charged with selling alcohol to an intoxicated person. The 58-year-old man was booked into the Galveston County Jail. He was identified as an employee of Gloria's Lounge in Galveston.

Gloria's Lounge declined to comment on the case.

"They have patiently been waiting and are glad the case is on the road to justice," the Bentancur family's attorney said.

SEE ALSO: 2 children, 2 adults killed after drunk driver crashes into golf cart in Galveston, police say

TABC agents said Garcia was working as a bartender the night of Aug. 6, when Espinoza's vehicle crashed into a golf cart at the intersection of 33rd Street and Avenue R, killing four passengers.

"During the course of our investigation, we found evidence that somebody was served alcohol while showing signs of intoxication at the business," Chris Porter, the agency's public information officer, said.

The victims, Felipe Bentancur, 49; Destiny Uvalle, 25; Brailyn Cantu, 14; and Kaisyn Bentancur, 4, were members of a family visiting Galveston Island on vacation.

"This tragic case illustrates why it's so important that alcohol retailers take steps to prevent sales to customers who show signs of intoxication," TABC Executive Director Thomas Graham said. "Businesses can help prevent deadly crashes by following the law and educating employees on how to identify signs of intoxication. Businesses that are found to have contributed to serious injury or loss of life will be held accountable."

SEE ALSO: Galveston golf cart crash suspect had bloodshot eyes, breath smelled of alcohol, filing reads

Graham added that anyone convicted of selling alcohol to an intoxicated person could face a fine of not more than $500 and up to a year in jail. Businesses in violation could face TABC administrative action, including a fine or a temporary suspension of their alcohol license or permit.

A TABC administrative case against Gloria's Lounge remains pending.

Porter said all businesses selling alcohol on the island should educate staff in order to avoid deadly tragedies.

"Whenever we have a situation like what we've seen in Galveston, where there have been multiple deaths linked to alcohol, we will schedule additional operations and inspections where people are visible to let businesses know we are taking the matter seriously," Porter said.

For updates on this story, follow Briana Conner on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

SEE ALSO: Lawsuit filed against alleged drunk driver in crash that killed 4 people in a golf cart in Galveston