Galveston bartender arrested after serving suspect who caused golf cart crash that killed family of 4, officials say

Gil Garcia, 58 (Galveston County Sheriff's Office)

GALVESTON, Texas – A Galveston bartender was arrested by Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission agents Monday after allegedly serving a man accused of causing a golf cart crash that left a family of four dead in August, according to TABC officials.

Gil Garcia, 58, an employee of Gloria’s Lounge, 4126 Avenue S in Galveston, has ben charged with selling alcohol to an intoxicated person. He was booked into the Galveston County Jail.

According to TABC agents, Garcia was working as a bartender the night of Aug. 6 when the suspected drunken driver, identified as 45-year-old Miguel Espinoza, collided with a golf cart, killing the four passengers. The victims, ages 4, 14, 25 and 49, were members of a family visiting Galveston Island on vacation.

Espinoza has been charged with four counts of intoxication manslaughter.

“This tragic case illustrates why it’s so important that alcohol retailers take steps to prevent sales to customers who show signs of intoxication,” TABC Executive Director Thomas Graham said. “Businesses can help prevent deadly crashes by following the law and educating employees on how to identify signs of intoxication. Businesses that are found to have contributed to serious injury or loss of life will be held accountable.”

WHAT HAPPENED?

The crash occurred at the intersection of Avenue R and 33rd Street at around 11:30 p.m.

According to Galveston PD in a release, a black-colored Hyundai SUV was on the eastbound side of Avenue R when Espinoza was driving eastbound in a Hyundai SUV on R Avenue. Investigators said he failed to stop at the intersection, striking a golf cart and a pickup truck that was traveling northbound and a Dodge pickup truck traveling southbound.

Six people, including three children, were in the golf cart at the time of the crash. One adult passenger died at the scene, while the rest were taken to an area hospital where a second adult passenger and two children later died. A third passenger and a child remain in critical condition.

The driver of a black Dodge pickup truck and a child passenger were treated with minor injuries and were later released, according to police.

Police say Espinoza had a passenger in the car who was treated and released.

Individuals convicted of selling alcohol to an intoxicated person could face a fine of not more than $500 and up to a year in jail. Businesses found in violation could face TABC administrative action, including a fine or a temporary suspension of their alcohol license or permit.

The criminal case remains under investigation by the Galveston Police Department and Galveston County District Attorney’s Office. A TABC administrative case against Gloria’s Lounge remains pending.

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