Martell’s Tiki Bar in Point Pleasant Beach will close for 30 days while its liquor license is suspended and pay a fine of $500,000 in a settlement with state officials over an incident where a drunk woman took another person’s car from the bar’s parking lot and drove it the wrong way on Route 18, killing herself and severely injuring another motorist in the resulting head-on accident.
The bar, owned by Martell’s Tiki Bar Inc., will pay a $500,000 fine and have its license to serve alcohol suspended from September 28, 2015 to October 28, 2015. In addition, all staff involved in the service of alcohol at Martell’s will be required to undergo training in the safe service of alcohol, which will be overseen by a compliance monitor approved by the ABC and paid for by Martell’s. The monitoring requirement will last as long as the current owners hold an interest in the alcoholic beverage license.
Martell’s had been charged with one count of service of alcohol to an intoxicated patron and had pleaded “non-vult,” or no contest, the state attorney general’s office said in a statement issued Thursday.
“There can be deadly consequences when alcohol and driving are mixed, so it is vitally important that establishments that serve alcohol, do so responsibly,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman, in the statement. “It is unlawful in this state to serve alcohol to a person who is actually or apparently intoxicated and the repercussions of not abiding by the law have been brought to bear in this tragic case.”
According to police reports, the intoxicated patron, Ashley Cheico, 26, then of Wood-Ridge, had been drinking at Martell’s on August 16, 2013 and left the establishment driving an SUV she did not own. The Old Bridge police report said that at about 6 p.m. that day, Cheico’s vehicle struck head-on the car driven by Dana Corrar on Route 18. Corrar, who was 55 years old and an Old Bridge resident at the time of the crash, sustained multiple injuries.
Cheico reportedly took the SUV from a parking lot owned by Martell’s where staff members keep customers’ keys in their ignitions in order to be able to quickly move them around the jam-packed lot.