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The Sink in Boulder gets liquor license suspended after customer's death in August crash

The eight-day suspension begins May 31
Posted at 7:28 AM, May 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-26 09:30:34-04

BOULDER, Colo. -- A popular restaurant and bar on The Hill in Boulder is going dry temporarily.

The city's Beverage Licensing Authority has suspended The Sink's liquor license following a fatal crash that occurred Aug. 16, 2018.

The suspension was issued following a hearing on May 15.

The business was accused of over-serving a customer, who later died in a crash at 30th Street and Colorado Avenue.

The Police report states that Michael McHugh, 21, went to The Sink with two friends about 10 that night and consumed five single shots.

Video shows the trio was at the Sink for about 40 minutes. They then left and went to the Dark Horse, a bar and grill on Baseline.

According to the police report, one of the friends told investigators they were denied entry because McHugh and the other member of the group were too intoxicated.

McHugh reportedly left on his own to get something to eat at Taco Bell.

He was apparently driving north on 30th Street, at a high rate of speed, when he crashed into one of the traffic signal poles, and then into a brick wall. His vehicle exploded into flames.

Investigators determined that McHugh's Blood Alcohol Content was .276.

An attorney representing The Sink disputed that figure.

Michael Laszlo says the bar "served only 6.25oz during the 40 minutes that (McHugh) was there, which is a typical amount that you'd be served in restaurants and bars around town."

Laszlo also disputed the BAC findings.

"That BAC level is not supported by the 6.25oz of alcohol, which is the amount the city admits was served to Mr. McHugh," he said.

The attorney added that McHugh's blood sample was taken from his heart, and that an expert toxicologist testified that heart blood samples "are unreliable."

Licensing Authority Order

The Boulder Beverage Licensing Authority found the allegations were true, and ordered that the licensee be required to post a violation poster in a conspicuous location visible to the public from the outside of the licensed premises for the duration of the suspension.

The license suspension is for a period of 14 days, but six of those days will be held in abeyance for a period of one year and will be dismissed if there are not further liquor violations during that one-year period.

The effective eight-day suspension runs from May 31 through June 7.

Bar owner Mark Heinritz issued a statement: “As it has for the last 20 years, The Sink remains committed to participating in our community dialog and efforts to address the adverse impacts of alcohol consumption. While we do not agree with the findings of the BLA, 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.”