By: Paula Walter
The Johnson County Sheriffs Department conducted compliance checks on six businesses that sell beer in the county recently. The results showed employees from each location allegedly sold to a customer who was visibly under the influence of alcohol.
On May 11, an off-duty employee of the Johnson Countys Sheriff Department reported that he observed a man who appeared to be under the influence get out of his car and walk unsteadily into the store. Not only was it obvious by his actions he was inebriated, but there was a strong smell of alcohol. Despite his actions and his odor, he was able to purchase alcohol. The off-duty employee quickly called 911 to report what he had witnessed, but in the meantime the man allegedly had pulled out into oncoming traffic, forcing one vehicle off the road and another into oncoming traffic. Johnson County 911 was unable to locate the vehicle at that time. However, two hours later, the same driver allegedly caused an accident when he crossed the center line, forcing another driver partially off the roadway and hitting the vehicle head on.
It was after this incident, said the sheriffs department, that they decided to conduct an investigation to determine if the problem of selling alcohol to intoxicated customers was pervasive within the county. The Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) 57-5-301 states sales to minors or intoxicated people are prohibited. The Tennessee Responsible Act of 2006, administered by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission is a program designed to help curb the sale of alcohol to minors and to help reduce intoxication and accidents, injuries and deaths due to the consumption of alcohol. Any penalties imposed upon businesses that violate these laws are determined by local county beer boards.
According to the Johnson County Sheriffs Department, they conducted a controlled operation that involved Town and Country Package Store, Rambos Pit Stop, Doe Creek Beverage, Quick Stop Number 47, Big Louis and Louis Backyard. The intoxicated informant, whose blood alcohol limit was .146, nearly twice the legal limit, was videoed the entire time and was accompanied by an investigator, who drove him from one location to another. An undercover officer was with the informant at each of the locations.
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