CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina ABC Commission began server training courses Tuesday in Chapel Hill in an effort to prevent underage drinking.
The course come after two Chapel Hill Bars, He’s Not Here and La Residence, were linked to a triple-fatal crash on Interstate 85 in July 2015 involving 20-year-old UNC student Chandler Kania.
Investigators say Kania and his friends drank alcohol at the bars. After leaving the establishments, Kania drove his Jeep Wrangler northbound in the southbound lanes on I-85 and slammed into a Suzuki sedan driven by Felecia Harris, 49, of Charlotte, who died.
Jahnice Beard, 6, and Darlene McGee, 46, were also killed in the crash.
Both bars linked to the crash are facing penalties. As part of an agreement with the ABC commission, He’s Not Here will lose its alcohol license for 21 days beginning Feb. 12. The bar agreed to pay a $5,000 fine to avoid a 30-day suspension. He’s Not Here was also penalized a $10,000 fine for past violations.
La Residence was given a 50-day suspension of its alcohol license or a 14-day suspension and a $5,000 fine, which the bar’s attorney said the business would pay.
In the Kania case, there have been several lawsuits filed, some of them against the bars that served him alcohol. Kania was indicted on 13 charges in September and his next court date is March 8.
“The vast majority of criminal cases are resolved by some kind of plea agreement and that’s certainly a possibility in this case,” said Assistant District Attorney Jeff Nieman.
Two server training sessions are being held in Chapel Hill Tuesday at the public library. One began at 10 a.m. and the other at 2 p.m. The commission will focus on penalties, checking proper ID’s and how to recognize when someone has had too much to drink.
“I think one of the biggest challenges is that there are so many restaurants and bars in downtown Chapel Hill and you know our guests tend to come from other restaurants or bars, so usually by the time they come to us, it’s a little later in the evening,” said Wes Rowe, food and beverage director at the Franklin Hotel in Chapel Hill.
Rowe said it’s important for establishments like his hotel to know when people have reached their drinking limit.
“It is a problem in college towns just because the number of instances,” said Kat Haney, the N.C. ABC Commission Coalition’s director. “They’re just trying and trying and trying and so we want to make sure that these guys have all the education that they could possibly get on the subject.”