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Ohio bartender who alerts police to drunk patron fired for action

Shelby Police Chief Charlie Roub says that he is “not very pleased” by the recent decision of a local business employer.

That decision — noteworthy enough to garner headlines in media outlets across the country — was this: firing a bartender for alerting police to a just-departed bar patron whose blood alcohol content tested out as above the threshold for being legally drunk.

And it was far from a close call. In fact, the intoxicated man, who was ultimately arrested and charged with operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI), blew a.167, an amount more than two times over the legal limit.

That degree of intoxication, surmised the bartender as the man was about to leave the bar at Shelby’s American Legion Post, constituted a clear car accident risk.

He was “pretty much hammered,” said Twyla DeVito, who added that the man was already clearly intoxicated when she came on duty. In her call to the police department, she informed officers that the departing patron was a clear danger to himself and others.

DeVito’s boss terminated her for that, saying her action was “bad for business” and that the establishment would be empty if patrons were uniformly worried about police officers waiting outside the door for them.

That comment and decision clearly rankles Chief Roub, who lauded DeVito and lamented her getting punished for “trying to do something right.”

Ohio law does provide for dram shop liability and social host liability in certain instances for providers of alcohol to guests — adults and minors — who injure other persons as a result of their being intoxicated. That liability does not extend to social hosts at homes where alcohol is served to intoxicated adults.

Source: NBC2News, “Bartender fired after calling cops on DUI driver,” Feb. 27, 2013