Bartenders, Cheryl Wright and Lindsay Lockhart, Charged in Okla. Pedestrian's Death
Sammy Ford, 48, of Tulsa, Okla., was a helicopter pilot for the National Guard and LifeFlight. As a pedestrian, last September, he was struck by two cars while crossing the street and killed.
Neither driver has been charged with Ford’s death. Prosecutors, though, are charging the two women who were tending bar that night where Ford was drinking. They are charged with serving alcohol to an intoxicated person, a felony in Oklahoma.
The women, Cheryl Wright and Lindsay Lockhart, knew Ford. He was a regular at their bar and they knew he always walked home. Neither of the women has a criminal record.
The receipts from that evening show that Ford bought six beers and three other alcoholic drinks.
Police allege Ford was so drunk when he left the bar at 1 a.m. that he actually fell while crossing the street and was crawling when the cars struck him.
One driver was an 18-year old girl who was so scared she left the scene, drove home and told her parents who then called police. The second driver stayed on the scene where Ford died.
Erik Smoot, of the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement, asserts Ford was most certainly drunk.
“When we got the toxicology report back from the ME's office, it was .30, four times the legal limit,” he said.
Lockhart’s attorney, Rob Nigh, said sometimes terrible tragedies just happen and that no one should be charged. He also said that when it is obvious a person is drunk, servers do have a responsibility to stop serving them, but the person drinking also has the responsibility to know what effect the alcohol has on him or her.
"We can't place that responsibility on someone who may not know our characteristics or doesn't know what our tolerance level might be," Nigh said.
Police in Oklahoma say alcohol related deaths are too numerous and that laws like this send a message to servers.
Nearby Texas took a similar approach in 2012 and enacted a special task force dubbed “Bars and Cars” that sought to catch intoxicated people in a drinking establishment before they got behind the wheel. That task force also was charging bartenders for serving intoxicated individuals.