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TABC seeks to pull license at Longview bar after death in parking lot

From Staff Reports
March 20, 2013 at 7:02 a.m.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has closed their investigation into the Lodge Sports Bar and Billiards stemming from the July beating death of a man outside the bar and will seek to cancel the bar's permit to sell liquor.

Sgt. Marcus Stokke, supervisor for the Longview office of the TABC, said the commission is in talks with the Daniel Haislip, owner of the restaurant, due to the investigation's findings. Stokke and Haislip said they believe the Lodge's case will go before a hearing in Austin at the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

"I feel confident that we will retain our liquor license, but I feel there will be some kind of penalty involved," Haislip said.

The investigation stemmed from the beating death of Sean Drake, 39, in the bar's parking lot after closing in the early morning hours of July 12.

Drake was punched in the head and later died.

Drake's autopsy ruled the death a homicide, but a Gregg County grand jury declined to issue an indictment in connection with the death.

Haislip said one of the major questions to determine the bar's responsibility is whether the establishment is responsible for what happened in their parking lot after closing.

"The responsibility of the parking lot is at question, and that's where I've got some heartburn with it. I was told I should send employees out there to break this up. My first responsibility is to the safety of my employees," Haislip said.

Haislip added that the bar only served Drake three beers the night of his death and that bar has been in good standing with TABC for its five years of existence.

Stokke said the TABC spoke with Drake's family to see if they wanted a heavy fine or the cancellation of the permit as they made their decision.

Additional information was expected to be released by the TABC on Wednesday afternoon.



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