GREENFIELD — Richalle Turner remembers them — three friends, raising a glass to celebrate one’s 21st birthday. They ate, drank, eventually assured the bar owner they’d call for a ride home.
Then, the next morning came the news — a car crash, with one of those men dead and one with injuries so severe he would die hours later.
Now, authorities are pointing to Turner, owner of Ro’s Bar & Grill, and her staff as responsible for the deaths of Scott Wynn, 55, of Greenfield, and Mitchell Wadley, 22, of Fortville.
Thursday, Indiana State Excise Police announced it would pursue charges against the server who waited on the men that night in early April; and the restaurant faces a citation, a press release states.
Server Anthony Helsley, 22, of Greenfield, is charged with two counts of sale of alcoholic beverages to intoxicated persons, a Class B misdemeanor. The bar, 1514 N. State St., was cited on preliminary non-criminal charges of selling to intoxicated persons, lacking employee permit records and failing to meet server training requirements.
Surveillance footage clearly shows Helsley, the only server working the night of April 2, Turner said, bringing pitchers of beer and shots of liquor to the men, even after two of the men were wrestling around, and one fell asleep at the table, charging documents state.
Turner has watched that tape; she said it also shows Helsley refusing to bring more alcohol to Wadley when it became clear he was intoxicated.
What Helsley didn’t realize, Turner admits, is Wadley continued to drink from the next pitcher of beer brought to the table.
The men drank for some two and a half hours, Turner remembers. Wadley and Wynn shared three pitchers of beer and two shots each, court records state.
She remembers insisting the men call for a ride home. She handed the designated driver a free Coke and thanked him for coming, she said.
But the men never got in the car with Robert Fair; who followed them as he left and witnessed the accident.
Minutes after leaving the bar, Wynn — who toxicology reports later showed was legally drunk and had marijuana in his system when he got behind the wheel — missed a curve on County Road 300N.
The car, going nearly 100 miles per hour, careened off the side of the road near Fortville Pike, flipping several times before coming to rest in a cornfield, charging documents state.
Cody Boyd, 21, of Greenfield — who was with the men at the bar — suffered minor injuries, police said. He was the only one in the car wearing a seat belt, police said.
Wynn, who had a blood-alcohol content of .12 percent, was killed instantly; Wadley, whose blood-alcohol level registered .28 percent, was flown to an Indianapolis hospital, records state. He died the next day, court records state.
Hearing those details the next morning, Turner said she was shocked.
“I was like, ‘Oh, my God, what happened here?’ It was just a freak accident.”
Turner said her heart broke for the men’s families — but looking back on the night, no one from her bar is responsible, she said.
Turner said she was stunned when she learned Wynn — who she said looked fine to drive when he left the bar — was intoxicated.
It’s a standing rule in the bar she opened nine years ago, Turner said: no one drives home drunk.
“We take people home, we find you a ride home — if we don’t take you ourselves,” she said.
Video footage around 7:30 p.m. captures Wynn spilling his beer multiple times, court records state. By 7:45 p.m., he was “stumbling and staggering” around, charging documents state.
It was the bar’s responsibility to stop serving; it doesn’t matter who was driving or if they had a ride home, said Cpl. Heather Lynch, spokeswoman for the Indiana Excise Police.
Indiana law prohibits bars and restaurant from serving alcohol to anyone who appears intoxicated, and servers are required to undergo training every three years to recognize signs of intoxication.
“You cannot serve an alcoholic beverage to an intoxicated person — there’s no exception,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if they have a designated driver or if they walked to the establishment.”
Helsley hadn’t undergone that training as required within 120 days, police said.
When interviewed by investigators, Helsley couldn’t name hardly any visuals signs of intoxication, records state. He told police Wynn was “getting there” when asked how intoxicated he appeared, according to documents.
Turner said she’s waiting to hear from the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to learn what a citation will mean for her business. A prosecutor for the commission will review the case to decide what penalties the bar could face, Lynch said.
Lynch said investigations into bars serving practices aren’t uncommon after someone has been seriously injured or killed in a drunken-driving crash; data on the number of bars that have been cited was not immediately available.
Meanwhile, the Greenfield bar’s doors remain open.
And Helsley — should he want it — still has a job. Helsley, who was released on $800 bond Wednesday night, had been working in the kitchen for several weeks, Turner added; he is no longer a server.
She stands by how her patrons were handled that night.
“We don’t over-serve people, send them out the door,” she said. “We haven’t done anything wrong.”