The county liquor board found insufficient evidence to conclude that a Taylorsville restaurant and lounge served alcohol to a minor who police say caused a fatal car accident less than an hour later.
The board ruled last week that Rewster's Restaurant and Lounge on Ridge Road in Taylorsville did not violate county liquor laws.
The decision was not unanimous, however. Former board chairman Champ Zumbrun, who died Oct. 23, said Rewster's had violated the law, the decision says.
Zumbrun participated in deliberations on the case after a hearing on the charges Sept. 18, and the majority overruled him, liquor board administrator J. Ronald Lau said.
Rewster's had been charged with serving beer on April 9 to Robert Kenneth Sauter, whom police have charged in connection with an accident on Route 26 in which a Frederick County man died.
Sauter, who was 20 at the time, is awaiting trial in Carroll Circuit Court on charges of automobile manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated and five other traffic offenses.
The liquor board, in a written decision released Thursday, said testimony by Sauter and three friends who were with him that night "was fraught with inconsistency and vagueness to such an extent that the board cannot accord it great weight."
The board also noted that the bartender at Rewster's the night the four men said they drank beer there did not remember seeing them.
Sauter and his friends testified they had been drinking beer for several hours before going to Rewster's.
Rewster's manager Douglas Henley said, "I'm just glad about the way it came down because the boys weren't in here to begin with."
In other decisions released Thursday, the board:
* Denied a license to Peter G. Samios of Westminster who wanted to open a liquor store in the new Cranberry Square on Route 140. The board denied the application because eight beer, wine and liquor package goods stores already are open within a two-mile radius.
Owners of two package goods stores in the area had protested the application.
Samios said it's possible he would appeal the decision or reapply for a license at a later date. He had planned to locate the store next to Giant Food Inc.
"I'm disappointed. Certain places are a natural for a liquor store, and that seems to be one of them," he said.
* Denied an application to upgrade the liquor license at Sandy's Carryout on Sykesville Road in Gamber to sell liquor as well as beer and wine.
The board visited the store and decided the facility did not have enough space to accommodate liquor sales, the decision says.
A Methodist pastor and some members of his congregation had opposed the license change.
* Fined the former O'Toole's Road House Restaurant in Cranberry Mall $100 for changing its name without the board's permission.
The name change to Tully's was necessary because of legal problems with a franchisee of O'Toole's, two of the restaurant's license holders said.