Crash victim's kin seek harsher penalty Thirty-day suspension of diner's liquor license is assailed as too lenient

June 03, 1998|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

The family of a man killed in an accident involving two men who had been at a party that included underage drinking wants a harsher penalty for the restaurant that served the drinks than the 30-day, liquor-license suspension imposed by the county liquor board.

"To give them 30 days, that's ridiculous," said John W. Gamrod of Pasadena. His brother-in-law, Charles W. Miller, died in a crash on Route 100 minutes after the party broke up at the Double T Diner in Glen Burnie. Miller's relatives have asked the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to take stronger action.

Miller, 31, died after the truck he was driving was sideswiped by a motorist who had attended the Oct. 25, 1996, party.

The liquor board acted against the diner in April, not because of the fatal crash but because of a Maryland State Police complaint that two women at the diner party were underage and had been served at least one round of drinks.

Neither of the women drove.

Gamrod said the liquor board was "too lenient." He went door to door to find 10 diner neighbors to sign his appeal because he could not legally challenge the liquor board's decision.

State law says such challenges can come only from people who live in the same voting precinct as the establishment with the liquor license at issue. Gamrod knocked on doors in Marley Run, an apartment complex behind the diner.

Richard C. Bittner, chairman of the liquor board, has called the suspension the harshest penalty for a first offense for serving minors that he could recall during his eight-year tenure on the board. The diner did not appeal.

Konstantine J. Prevas, attorney for the diner, had no comment on Gamrod's appeal.

Two men at the party, William L. Isenberg, 36, and Perry M. Waldvogel, 25, were convicted in November of causing Miller's death by drag racing on Route 100 and trying to hide their involvement.

Isenberg was sentenced to six years in prison, Waldvogel to 18 months. Both have appealed.

Suellen Waldvogel -- who is Perry Waldvogel's mother, Isenberg's girlfriend and owner of the car Isenberg was driving -- pleaded guilty to lying to an insurance company about the accident.

Pub Date: 6/03/98

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