SANTA ANA - – On February 15, 2023, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) announced it indefinitely suspended the license of Culichitown in Santa Ana after an employee furnished alcohol to a group of six underage customers who were subsequently involved in a deadly car crash on November 13, 2021. Alcohol sales are prohibited until the license is transferred.
ABC opened a Target Responsibility for Alcohol Connected Emergencies (TRACE) investigation immediately after the crash to determine the source of the alcohol that was consumed by the underage driver. Following the investigation, ABC agents determined that Culichitown server Omar Vega furnished alcoholic beverages to the underage customers. After leaving the restaurant, Jose Clemente, 18, drove his vehicle under the influence of alcohol and crashed, killing one passenger, and injuring five other passengers.
“Serving alcoholic beverages to those under 21 is not a harmless act. Not only is it against the law, it can lead to deadly consequences as was the case here,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “ABC agents work year-round and statewide to not only educate servers and clerks, but to identify and cite those who sell to customers under the age of 21.”
“Preventing underage drinking is a public safety priority,” said ABC Director Eric Hirata. “We want to remind licensees to check IDs carefully and help keep Californians safe.”
ABC sought disciplinary action against Culichitown’s alcoholic beverage license for furnishing alcohol to someone under 21 and furnishing alcoholic beverages to a minor causing great bodily injury or death. In response to the accusations, the licensee signed a settlement agreement. Under the agreement, the license is suspended for 30 days, and indefinitely thereafter for the next 180 days to allow for transfer of the license. If any similar violations continue to occur at the premises at any time during the suspension, ABC has authority to revoke the license.