TABC investigating where suspect drank alcohol before fatal south Austin crash

Crime

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is investigating if a business served alcohol to a man charged in a fatal crash that happened in south Austin on Saturday.

Paul Joseph Garcia Jr, 24, has been charged with intoxication manslaughter in the death of Lee Martin Cagle following a crash that happened at the intersection of Slaughter Lane and Menchaca Road around 10:30 p.m.

TABC said that Garcia Jr. indicated to Austin police that he had been drinking at multiple businesses before the crash on Saturday.

As part of the investigation, TABC said it will investigate the source of alcoholic beverage service. It will seek to determine whether those businesses served alcohol to an intoxicated customer.

Under Texas law, alcohol retailers must decline service to anyone showing signs of intoxication.

Any business cited for selling alcohol to an intoxicated person could face a civil fine of up to $7,200, and a temporary suspension of their license to sell alcohol.

In extreme cases, a business’ license could be cancelled.

Paul Joseph Garcia Jr. (APD/KXAN)

According to an arrest affidavit, Garcia Jr. continued to drive on Menchaca Road after hitting Cagle, who was pushing a shopping cart in the road.

The affidavit says witnesses saw Garcia Jr. pull the car over and “calmly” walk away from it. Later, Garcia Jr. was seen walking barefoot just south of the scene at the South Austin Beer Garden, the affidavit says.

David Pearce, the co-owner of the South Austin Beer Garden said his door staff recognized something was wrong almost immediately. They met him at the door and tried to calm him down. Surveillance video shows that Garcia Jr. emerged from a drainage ditch without shoes on.

“We didn’t know what kind of trouble he was in, we just knew it was bad,” Pearce said. “He was in tears. He was distraught. In a panicked state. You could see he had tears in his eyes and it looked like he was running from something.”

Police officers showed up to the South Austin Beer Garden shortly after and detained the 24-year-old.

Garcia Jr. was not served alcohol at South Austin Beer Garden, according to the affidavit. 

He has been charged with intoxication manslaughter, and is being held at the Travis County Jail.

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