The Sink in Boulder to have liquor license suspended for over-serving man who later died in crash

The Sink on University Hill will have its liquor license suspended for at least eight years after Boulder’s drink Licensing Authority subordinate the feeding house over-served a man who died in a fiery crash less than an hour after departure the feeding house.

The suspension was handed down following a hearing on May 15, with the drink Licensing Authority ruling The Sink violated conduct of establishment regulations in serving Michael McHugh, 21, who died on Aug. 16 in a crash. Per the stipulated agreement, the feeding house was given a 14-day liquor license suspension but will not be fined.

The feeding house will serve eight years of the suspension from May 31 to June 7. The Sink will only need to serve the leftover six years of the suspension if the feeding house has some other violation inside a year.

“As it has for the last 20 years, The Sink remains committed to active in our community dialog and efforts to address the adverse impacts of alcohol consumption,” owner Mark Heinritz aforementioned in a statement. “While we do not agree with the collection of the (drink Licensing Authority), we do respect their decision. We feel terribly for the family and any role The Sink may have played in this tragedy. We offer the McHugh family our deepest sympathies during this difficult time.”

McHugh died after blinking his pickup truck into a traffic light pole at the corner of thirtieth Street and Colorado Avenue at 11:22 p.m on Aug. 16, 2018.

Jeremy Papasso, Daily Camera
University of Colorado senior Taylor Lawrence walks past The Sink as she walks to class on Jan. 26, 2018, on University Hill in Boulder.

According to a police report, McHugh went for drinks with two friends at The Sink, 1165 thirteenth St., at about 10 p.m. on Aug. 16, but had not been drinking beforehand except for a mixed drink at 3 p.m. The group was there for about 40 proceedings at the bar, with McHugh being served five drinks by one bartender, best-known in documents as Jordan Rose.

While one of McHugh’s friends thought some of McHugh’s drinks were double shots of liquor and his receipt shows the purchase of three double shots, video evidence and other statements led the city to conclude McHugh had consumed about 6.25 ounces of 80 proof liquor, which is the equivalent of five single pours.

After departure The Sink, one of McHugh’s friends told police he tried to take McHugh’s keys, but aforementioned McHugh refused. The group then went to the Dark Horse, 2922 Baseline Road,with McHugh driving in his truck and his friends following on a motorcycle.

The friend driving the motorcycle aforementioned it did not appear McHugh was handicraft, though he aforementioned he did appear to be driving quicker than normal.

Once at the Dark Horse, a doorkeeper refused to let McHugh and his female friend into the bar because they were intoxicated.

The doorkeeper told police the woman McHugh was with was the more intoxicated of the two, but he aforementioned he could tell McHugh had been drinking, noting he appeared to lean against a wall for balance and was “overly friendly.”

McHugh left the Dark Horse just after 11 p.m., with one friend telling police McHugh told them he wanted to get food from a near drive-thru. The crash was according about 20 proceedings later.

According to an autopsy report by Dr. Daniel Lingamfelter, McHugh died due to blunt force neck trauma, and the manner of death was subordinate an accident. A pharmacological medicine test done from McHugh’s heart blood showed his blood alcohol level was .276, with Lingamfelter writing in the report that McHugh, who weighs 136 pounds, had a “severely elevated blood alcohol level.”

The pharmacological medicine test besides found traces of THC and pep pill in McHugh’s system.

In documents submitted to the drink Licensing Authority, a five-member board, some experts maintained by The Sink arguable the blood alcohol level collection by the medical examiner.

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“We dispute a central fact in this case — that Mr. McHugh’s BAC was .276,” The Sink’s attorney mike Laszlo aforementioned in a statement. “First of all, that BAC level is not supported by the consumption of only 6.25 ounces of alcohol, which is the amount the city admits was served to Mr. McHugh. Second, the medical man of science expert testified that the BAC of .276 deliberate by the medical examiner is inaccurate because the blood sample was from the heart blood, which is unreliable for testing BAC.”

Laszlo added the amount McHugh was served did not rise to the level of over-serving.

“The evidence shows there was no violation,” Laszlo aforementioned. “The Sink served only 6.25 ounces during the 40 proceedings he was there, which is a typical amount that you’d be served in feeding houses and parallel parallel bars around town.”

During the hearing, board members besides acknowledged McHugh did not show any signs of intoxication but added that serving him the five drinks in less than an hour was, “at minimum, poor judgement.”

Rose chose not speak to police, according to the report.

According to documents filed with the drink Licensing Authority, The Sink has affected up its closing time from 2 a.m. to 11 p.m. and besides will add time stamps on drink orders and put checks in front of customers to better monitor drink consumption.