Liquor board drops case against Bohager's Bar Underage suspects won't testify about night there before fatal wreck

September 29, 1995|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

The city liquor board yesterday dismissed charges against Bohager's Bar and Grill after three suspected underage drinkers refused to testify about the June night when they drank with a Harford County man later charged in a drunken driving accident that killed two teen-agers.

The board dropped the case against Bohager's, despite the fact that the board had a number of written statements given to the Harford County Sheriff's Office that said three underage drinkers -- including the man charged in the accident -- entered the bar at Eden and Fleet streets without being asked for identification.

Liquor board chairman George G. Brown said the board could not consider those written reports because the lawyer representing Bohager's would not be able to cross-examine the men who made the statements.

The board began its investigation after the June 24 accident in which Christopher W. Smith of Baldwin was charged in the death of the two teen-agers. His car crossed the center line of Route 152 in Fallston and struck the teens, who were walking along the road. Mr. Smith was 20 at the time.

A bar serving minors can be fined $500.

The only underage drinker who did testify yesterday said he used a driver's license belonging to another man to get into the bar.

Russell M. Lagreca, 19, of Bel Air told the board that he entered Bohager's after showing a doorman a Maryland driver's license belonging to a 23-year-old man whose photograph resembled him. The doorman asked no questions and admitted him.

Mr. Smith is awaiting trial in Harford County on charges of manslaughter, reckless driving and several charges of driving while intoxicated.

The liquor board has a similar case pending against the Greene Turtle, a bar in the 700 block of S. Broadway in Fells Point, where the young men also allegedly drank that night. That case has been postponed until Oct. 19.

The greater Fells Point area has 113 liquor licenses in 114 square blocks from Central Avenue east to Chester Street and from Baltimore Street south to the harbor, according to liquor board records.

The bars have the capacity to serve more than 7,000 drinkers.

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