TABC spokeswoman says agency will investigate whether Larsen was drinking after hours at Rainbow Lounge before accident
FORT WORTH —Rainbow Lounge bartender Bradley Larsen had a blood-alcohol content more than three times the legal limit at the time of the car wreck that took his life on July 26, according to toxicology results released Tuesday, Sept. 29 by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Larsen’s blood-alcohol content at the time of the crash was 0.254. The legal limit is 0.08.
Larsen’s toxicology results also came back positive for cocaine, marijuana and several prescription drugs.
The Medical Examiner’s report lists Larsen’s primary cause of death as blunt-force head trauma.
“He was under the influence —yes, very much so,” said Linda Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner’s Office. “It would be a contributing factor because it would impair his ability to react to certain things.”
Larsen was traveling at speeds of up to 100 mph on eastbound Interstate 30 in Arlington when he rear-ended an 18-wheeler in his Honda Accord at about 6:15 a.m. that Sunday, according to police reports.
Carolyn Beck, a spokeswoman for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, said Tuesday that the agency is conducting a routine “source investigation” to determine when and where Larsen consumed and/or obtained the alcohol that was in his system.
According to Beck, if it’s determined that Larsen, who’d worked the night before, consumed alcohol at the Rainbow Lounge after hours, it could mean serious consequences for the bar, including possibly a revocation of its liquor license. Although it’s legal for bartenders to consume alcohol while working as long as they don’t become intoxicated, it’s illegal for anyone to consume alcohol on the premises of a bar after 2:15 a.m.
“As soon as it [the wreck] happened, they started fact-finding, interviewing witnesses and things like that,” Beck said of TABC investigators. “But once they have evidence of intoxication, that’s what kicks it into higher gear. … Our investigators are working hard to find out exactly what happened and whether any laws were violated, other than the obvious ones.”
Randy Norman, general manager of the Rainbow Lounge, told Dallas Voice in July that the Rainbow Lounge closed at 2 that morning. Norman said he saw Larsen leave the bar at about 4 a.m.
“I don’t know where he went afterward,” Norman said at the time. “Brad was definitely not intoxicated when he left this bar. Our policy is no tolerance on drinking by staff.”
Anderson said there’s no way to determine from the toxicology results when Larsen consumed the alcohol that was in his system, meaning it could be a difficult case for TABC.
The agency may also want to avoid the perception that it’s cracking down on the Rainbow Lounge in the wake of a highly controversial raid of the gay bar a month before Larsen’s death.
The raid, which made national headlines and led to the termination of three TABC employees, was conducted along with officers from the Fort Worth Police Department.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 2, 2009.