The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) has indefinitely suspended the license of Culichitown in Santa Ana after an employee furnished alcohol to a group of six underage persons who were subsequently involved in a deadly car crash on November 13, 2021. Alcohol sales are prohibited until the license is transferred.
ABC opened a Target Responsibility for Alcohol Connected Emergencies (TRACE) investigation immediately after the crash to determine the source of the alcohol that was consumed by the underage driver. Following the investigation, ABC agents determined that Culichitown server Omar Vega furnished alcoholic beverages to the group of minors. After leaving the restaurant, one of the minors, 18-year-old Jose Clemente, drove his vehicle under the influence of alcohol and crashed, killing one passenger, and injuring five other passengers.
“Preventing underage drinking is a public safety priority,” said ABC Director Eric Hirata. “We want to remind licensees to check IDs carefully and help keep Californians safe.”
ABC sought disciplinary action against Culichitown’s alcoholic beverage license for furnishing alcohol to a minor and furnishing alcoholic beverages to a minor causing great bodily injury or death. In response to the accusations, the licensee signed a settlement agreement. Under the agreement, the license is suspended for 30 days, and indefinitely thereafter for the next 180 days to allow for transfer of the license. If any similar violations continue to occur at the premises at any time during the suspension, ABC has authority to revoke the license.
The TRACE program is made possible by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The grant provides funding for ABC investigations of alcohol-related incidents that involve a person under 21 causing great bodily injury or death, or anyone charged with vehicular manslaughter that was under the influence of alcohol regardless of their age.