Normally, the police encourage suspects to take responsibility for their actions instead of blaming others for the mistakes that got them in trouble. Though, this isn’t always the case.
In September 2018, police arrested a woman after she endangered her own life and the lives of everyone on the road. Tragically, her choice ended in a fatal accident that took the life of an innocent young man. Instead of blaming the woman, however, police are claiming two bartenders are actually responsible…
An Evening Bike Ride
On the night of June 4, 2018, Marco Antonio Pena Beltran was riding his bike to Walmart with his colleagues. The 23-year-old was originally from Columbia but had come to the United States just a few weeks prior. He and several others had come as part of a visa program that allowed them to work for the summer and learn the culture.
A Lifeguard In Training
While in the United States, Beltran had been training at a lifeguard academy. Once his training was complete, he planned to work as a lifeguard for the Galveston Beach Patrol in Galveston, Texas. Sadly, he never got to spend the summer saving lives.
Eager to Work
According to authorities, Beltran had been really excited about his time in Texas. He was eager to work hard, save money, and experience a new culture. However, while he and his colleagues were riding to Walmart just after 10 p.m. that night, the lifeguard ended up having to fight for his own life.
As the group cycled on the shoulder of the street, a car came out of nowhere and mowed Beltran and another 23-year-old down. According to the police, the car, which was driven by 50-year-old Gerilyn Weberlein, was going about 45 mph when it collided with the bikers.
Hit From Behind
Authorities explained that Weberlein hit the cyclists from behind. During the collision, Beltran went through the windshield of the car. When responding officers arrived at the scene of the crash, Beltran was in bad shape and was rushed to the hospital right away.
The Other Victim
Another cyclist from the group was also struck during the accident and was also taken to the hospital. Thankfully, however, he wasn’t as hurt as Beltran. After being rushed to the John Sealy Emergency Room at the University of Texas, doctors did their best to treat both of the young men and all their injuries.
The Accident Report
Meanwhile, police were still back at the scene of the accident, which authorities explained occurred near the intersection of 69th Street and Weiss Drive. While at the scene, the officers were trying to figure out what exactly happened and how the 50-year-old didn’t see the group of cyclists.
Signs of Intoxication
Officers took statements from everyone at the scene. However, while speaking to Weberlein, they got a good idea of what had just happened. According to the Galveston police officers at the scene, Weberlein showed signs of being intoxicated. They could even smell alcohol on her breath.
Just One Beer
When asked if she had anything to drink that night, Weberlein told the police that she had only had one beer. Yet based on her condition at the time, the officers thought that was highly unlikely. As a result, they had her do a few different field sobriety tests.
According to the report filed by the responding officers, Weberlein failed every single field sobriety test that they gave her. As a result, the officers took Weberlein into custody and tested her blood-alcohol content. The results showed that Weberlein was well above the state’s legal limit.
Well Above The Limit
According to the police report, Weberlein had a blood-alcohol content of 0.103 several hours after the accident. Since the legal limit in Texas is 0.08, they arrested her for driving drunk. Meanwhile, doctors in the emergency room were still hard at work trying to save Beltran’s life. Sadly, his injuries were too severe.
The Next Morning
While the other young man who had been hit only suffered cuts and a broken arm, Beltran was in critical condition. Despite doctors doing everything in their power to save the 23-year-old, he passed away in the hospital the following morning from injuries he suffered during the crash.
When police notified Beltran’s family in Columbia about what happened, they were completely shocked and devastated. This was supposed to be such an exciting time for Beltran, and it ended in tragedy. “It’s sad. So sad because the people came here to achieve his goals, to make money, meet the culture. He was a really happy person,” Beltran’s friend Diego Castellanos told KTRK.
After Beltran’s passing, police charged Weberlein with third-degree felony intoxication assault and second-degree felony intoxication manslaughter. After her arrest, she was held on $100,000 bond. Shortly after, she posted bond and was released from Galveston County Jail on June 5.
Retracing Her Steps
For the police, however, the case wasn’t quite finished. While investigating what happened that night, investigators learned that Weberlein had been drinking at Island Pier Club earlier that night. So investigators started working to retrace her steps before the accident.
A Selfish Decision
According to the police, the 50-year-old had been drinking at the local bar for a few hours before the accident. Just before 10 p.m., Weberlein left the bar, got in her car, and started driving. That decision ended up injuring a young man and taking the life of another.
The Surveillance Footage
Just 15 minutes after leaving the bar and driving off, Weberlein plowed into the cyclists. Investigators then obtained footage from the surveillance cameras at the bar to see how much Weberlein drank that evening. However, while watching the footage, the officers noticed something else alarming.
The bartenders working that night, Shafay Look, 34, and Jon Ward, 56, continued to serve Weberlein all night even though she was clearly very drunk. In the footage, the 50-year-old can be seen spilling drunks and stumbling around the bar. She also struggled to stand up without another customer’s help.
As a result, the police charged both the bartenders with “selling an alcoholic beverage to an intoxicated person.” They claim they should have refused to serve her since she was extremely drunk. “Bartenders have a duty to make sure people aren’t over-served, and in this case, police feel they may be able to convict based on the surveillance video,” Beltran’s lawyer, Sean O’Rourke, told Yahoo Lifestyle. “If you serve a person who is slurring her speech and stumbling, you’re compounding a dangerous situation.”
A Bartender’s Responsibility
If found guilty, Look and Ward both face a fine of $500 and a year in jail for their part in the fatal accident since there is a statue in Texas that requires responsibly serving alcohol. Weberlein, on the other hand, hasn’t faced a jury yet and is due back in court on October 17 for a status conference. “Marco’s family in Galveston is happy to see there’s been an effort to look at all the causes that go into how these incidents occur,” O’Rourke told Yahoo Lifestyle.