The liquor board will hear testimony Tuesday that a Taylorsville restaurant served beer to an underage Sykesville man, whom police have charged with causing a fatal car accident less than an hour later.
The liquor board has charged Rewster's Restaurant and Lounge, 4328 Ridge Road, with serving alcohol to Robert Kenneth Sauter on April 9.
Sauter, now 21, faces charges in Carroll Circuit Court in connection with the death of Charles Robert Henderson, 52, of Walkersville, Frederick County.
Sauter is charged with automobile manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated and five other traffic offenses.
He faces a maximum of 16 years in prison and $11,500 in fines on the misdemeanor charges. A tentative trial date has been set for Nov. 5.
Information provided by state police to the liquor board indicates Sauter's blood-alcohol level was .14 percent the night of the accident. Under Maryland law, a person is legally drunk if his blood-alcohol level is .10 or higher.
Rewster's faces possible suspension or revocation of its beer, wine and liquor license and fines of up to $2,000, said J. Ronald Lau, liquor board administrator.
The restaurant has had no previous liquor law violations, Lau said.
Liquor board records say Sauter went to Rewster's with some friends around 9 p.m. April 9, after drinking beer for several hours at a friend's house.
David Thompson, 22, of Woodbine, who was with Sauter that night, said neither he nor Sauter were asked for proof of age when they ordered beer at Rewster's, state police records show.
Thompson said he drove Sauter to his car after they left Rewster's about 9:45 p.m. and asked him if he was able to drive. Sauter said he was, Thompson told police.
Both men drove east on Route 26, and Sauter passed Thompson at a high rate of speed on the right shoulder near South Carroll High School, state police records say.
Sauter continued east on Route 26 and passed a small truck near Arthur Shipley Road, the state police accident report says. Sauter swerved onto the right shoulder and then into the westbound lane, where his 1980 Mazda RX7 collided head-on with a 1986 Nissan Stanza driven by Henderson, the report says. Henderson died instantly, police say.
Thompson told police he went to Sauter's car after the accident, but couldn't get the door open so he drove to the nearby Winfield fire hall for help, police records say. Thompson returned to Sauter's car, kicked in a window and pulled his friend out.
Sauter, seriously injured in the accident, was transported by state police helicopter to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center at University Hospital in Baltimore.
A car driven by Francis W. Sufczinski of Woodbine also was involved in the accident, but Sufczinski and his son, a passenger, were not injured, the police report says.
The restaurant's licensees, Raymond Edward Watts, Raymond Edwin Watts and Evelyn Sauter Watts, could not be reached for comment.
Sauter's lawyer, Robert K. Parker of Westminster, said he didn't believe his client is related to Evelyn Sauter Watts.
The liquor board hearing will be at 10:30 a.m. in the County Office Building.
In other business Tuesday, the board will hear testimony at 9:30 a.m. on a request from Leonardi's Restaurant in Taneytown for a beer, wine and liquor license.