Acton's Board of Selectmen met with the owners of Tailgaters Grille Monday night to discuss an incident that happened on June 13, 2011. Just a few months after Tailgaters Grille officially opened in April of 2011, a 21 year-old Acton man who was charged with leaving the scene of property damage, speeding and OUI (second offense); he told the arresting officer that he had three beers at Tailgaters Grille before the crash. According to the police report, his blood-alcohol level was 0.18%, significantly higher than the legal limit of 0.08%. See full police report.
When someone is charged with an OUI and it is discovered that he/she consumed alcohol at a restaurant/bar in town, it is the duty of the Acton Board of Selectmen (BOS) to determine if the establishment is properly serving alcohol. So the selectmen met on Monday with the owners of Tailgaters Grille, where they stressed the importance of being conscientious when serving alcohol to customers.
“We have to rely on what you do there every day in order to keep the people in our streets safe and if you put somebody out there who has over-bought (alcohol) and goes out there and kills somebody, you’re going to wear that and carry that with you and we don’t want you to have to deal with that,” said BOS Chair Mike Gowing. “This is a partnership and we’re just trying to keep people safe.”
This particular court case was wrapped up in December, 2011, but the BOS was unaware of the incident until recently; same with the owners of Tailgaters Grille. Owners Dean Weeks and Kimberly Gehlerg presented to the BOS a few changes that they made immediately following their knowledge of the incident.
- One employee was fired for violating their serving alcohol policy, while drastically cutting down the hours of another employee.
- A camera system that has a seven-day recording window with the capability for the owners and managers to view on their computers and mobile devices was installed.
- Bartenders are now randomly checked by owners and managers for proper serving techniques, i.e. mixing the proper amount of alcohol in a drink.
The owners also said they have been making an effort since last summer to become more family-friendly.
“I will say that when we opened up we were learning Acton’s demographics,” said Gehlerg. “Right around July we wanted to make a conscious effort in changing the environment that was there. It was a learning curve for us and we tried very hard and we lost business for quite some time because of the transition and we accepted it but that’s what we wanted to have – a comfortable atmosphere so we didn’t have to worry about bad behavior.”
Board member Janet Adachi referred to the police record of the person slapped with the OUI in basically saying the drunk driving charge was not all Tailgater's fault.
“I have to say that this particular person – I read the police blotter and this person showed up twice (on the blotter) for another reason and so it may be that you confronted somebody who was going to be a difficult person anyway and it is not necessarily a reflection on you,” said Adachi. “In any event, now you’re going to be aware of this issue.”