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March 11, 2020

TABC Arrests Austin Bartender Following Deadly Auto/Pedestrian Crash

Bartender accused of over-serving driver prior to DWI fatality

AUSTIN – The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has arrested an Austin bartender for serving a man who's now accused of hitting and killing a pedestrian with his car in a deadly Feb. 15 collision.

Rafael Medina, 31, was arrested by TABC agents March 10 and charged with selling alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person. He was booked into the Travis County Jail and later released on a $2,500 bond.

Medina was working at Polvo's Mexican Restaurant, 360 Nueces Street, when TABC believes he served alcohol to a customer who was showing signs of intoxication. That customer, identified by Austin police as Paul Joseph Garcia, was later charged with intoxication manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid after the car he was driving struck a man pushing a shopping cart around 10:30 p.m. According to police, the force of the impact left the victim lodged in the passenger section of the vehicle. The driver continued for at least half a mile before coming to a stop. He then fled the vehicle and continued on foot until reaching the South Austin Beer Garden, where staff stopped him from entering the building before calling police.

TABC agents had been investigating the case since the Feb. 15 fatality, collecting evidence at multiple businesses prior to making the arrest.

"This is an extremely tragic case that could have been prevented if the people involved had done the right thing. The driver must be held accountable and so must the person who kept serving an intoxicated individual," TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. "Alcohol retailers and their employees need to understand that they are the first line of defense when it comes to stopping a DWI fatality before it happens."

Selling alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500 and up to a year in jail. Businesses accused of selling alcohol to an intoxicated person could also face a fine or suspension of their TABC liquor license.

The case remains under investigation.

Media Contact:Chris Porter Public Information Officer (512) 206-3462