Basalt bar singled out for enforcement in Kania case
The Aspen Times
A Basalt bar is the only one facing an enforcement action among three establishments where Kathryn Kania allegedly drank the night she was struck and killed while walking on Highway 82, according to state authorities.
No citation was issued against bartenders at two Snowmass Village bars where witnesses said Kania was drinking with friends on July 10, according to a spokeswoman for the Liquor Enforcement Division of the Colorado Department of Revenue. No penalty is being pursued against the two Snowmass bars’ liquor licenses, the spokeswoman said.
The Liquor Enforcement Division did cite Basalt bartender Donald “Blake” MacDougal with a misdemeanor charge of “sale or service of alcohol beverage to a visibly intoxicated person.” It’s also taking an administrative action that potentially could affect the liquor license of Stubbies Sports Bar and Eatery, where MacDougal bartends.
Witnesses told investigators with the Basalt Police Department and Colorado State Patrol that Kania, 53, of Basalt, met friends in Snowmass Village at 7 p.m. on July 10. They had a few drinks at a bar, then went to the free weekly concert in Snowmass Village and went to another bar after the show.
A State Patrol investigator spoke to a bartender at the second establishment in Snowmass Village where Kania was drinking. He said she came in with friends between 8:30 and 9 p.m.
“He stated she did not appear intoxicated,” the report said.
Kania and her friends stayed for roughly an hour and a half, according to the State Patrol report. The bartender said he served Kania a glass of wine and that she was sharing a bottle of wine with other friends, according to the report. The bartender said Kania seemed to be “in good spirits” and talked about her recent trip to Africa, the report said.
A friend of Kania’s told authorities she last saw her at 10:30 p.m. at a bus stop in Snowmass Village. Authorities believe Kania took the bus to Basalt, retrieved her car from a parking lot on the south side of Highway 82 and then drove over to Stubbies at about midnight.
MacDougal allegedly told authorities he could tell Kania was intoxicated. He served Kania one “light” vodka drink but took her keys when she tried to leave, according to the State Patrol report. He called 911 to report an uncooperative patron but canceled the call for officers a short time later when Kania agreed to a ride home from a sober driver, the report said.
The driver told authorities he delivered Kania to her residence at Willits, about 3 miles away. Kania was allegedly arguing to get a ride back to the bar to retrieve her car, the State Patrol report said.
She was standing in the right eastbound lane of Highway 82 in rainy conditions when she was struck and killed by a vehicle at about 2 a.m. July 11. The State Patrol determined the driver had no blame in the incident.
Kania had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.254 at the time of her death, according to the Eagle County Coroner’s Office. That level of intoxication indicates she drank a significant amount of alcohol prior to entering Stubbies.
The Liquor Enforcement Division offered no explanation of why enforcement is being pursued only against MacDougal and Stubbies.
MacDougal was cited by the state on Aug. 21. He is scheduled to appear in Pitkin County Court on Tuesday.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Sherry Caloia said Friday a plea bargain will be offered to MacDougal. She declined to outline the proposal prior to the hearing.
“We worked out a deal, and hopefully he’ll accept it on Tuesday,” she said.
Caloia said the decision on whether to pursue criminal action against bartenders who served Kania is strictly a decision of the Liquor Enforcement Division.
“It’s a difficult question because there’s an issue of personal responsibility,” she said. “Certainly she contributed to her death, significantly.”