Rainbow Lounge bartender killed in car wreck

Posted on 27 Jul 2009 at 1:08pm

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WFAA-TV is reporting that a man who’d worked as a bartender at the Rainbow Lounge on Saturday night was killed early Sunday in a wreck on Interstate 30 in Arlington. The bartender, 41-year-old Bradley Larson (shown above), reportedly was traveling at speeds of up to 100 mph in a Honda Accord when he rear-ended a truck at about 6:15 a.m. Authorities found alcohol in Larson’s car and are investigating whether he was intoxicated. They’re also investigating reports that another car was speeding close to Larson shortly before the crash.

This is a tragic incident that only adds to the grief experienced by Rainbow Lounge employees, patrons and owners in recent weeks. Sadly, I’m sure some of those who’ve defended the June 28 raid will seize on this incident as an example of why law enforcement was justified in going into the Rainbow Lounge that night. But the fact is that the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has already admitted that there was no justification for the raid according to their policies. And even if the raid had been justified, it doesn’t excuse what took place once the officers were inside the bar.

UPDATE: The Star-Telegram has more on this and notes that tests to determine Larson’s blood-alcohol content are still pending, and that authorities are still trying to determine Larson’s whereabouts prior to the wreck. The S-T also notes that the alcohol found in Larson’s car consisted of two closed containers. Larson was arrested last week on charges of DWI and possession of a controlled substance, but he was free on bond. He’d also been convicted of DWI in November 1999, but a TABC spokeswoman noted that this conviction wouldn’t prevent someone from working as a bartender:

Richard said Monday that, as is normal procedure, Arlington police alerted TABC about Sunday’s wreck after learning that Larson was a bartender and had been working at the Rainbow Lounge Saturday night.

“Anytime we have an accident, especially a fatality in which we believe there’s a possibility alcohol was involved, then we always investigate and try to find out where that person was last,” Richard said. “If we find out they were at a bar or restaurant where they serve alcohol, then we will contact TABC.”

The TABC’s Beck said the agency has done some “preliminary fact finding” into Sunday’s fatality but is awaiting toxicology results to see if “there’s evidence that the accident was alcohol-related.”

If the results indicate that it was, Beck said, agents will conduct a routine investigation “to find out the source of the alcohol and whether it was obtained illegally.”

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