Lights and Sirens

Spencer Bartender Charged In Connection With Fatal Crash

Clay County, Iowa — The investigation into a late April traffic crash that claimed two lives has resulted in charges against a Spencer bartender.

Clay County authorities say the crash happened near Dickens, Iowa on April 26th of this year, when a vehicle left the roadway and struck a utility pole, severing the vehicle in two and killing both occupants, identified as Alfonso Adrian Maldonado and Tephonte Alan Smith.

Deputies say their investigation led them to believe that Maldonado and Smith had been at the Southside Grill in Spencer, during the hours preceding the crash. Following additional investigation and interviews, a search warrant was granted for documentation from Southside Grill, which, officials say, confirmed that the occupants were present at the establishment and that 19-year-old Maldonado, the driver, was served multiple alcoholic beverages at the establishment in the hours preceding the crash. According to authorities, following the accident, Maldonado’s blood alcohol content was determined to be 0.258, which is more than three times the legal limit.

Officials say charges have been filed against bartender Jacoba Knight of Spencer, for selling alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person, supplying alcoholic beverages to Maldonado and failing to exercise reasonable care to ascertain whether he was under the legal age, and supplying alcohol to 18-year-old Mackenzie Kamstra, knowing that she was under the legal age. Knight was cited and released. Additional charges are pending, according to deputies.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office has been assisted by the Spencer Police Department, Iowa State Patrol, and Clay County Attorney’s Office.

Earlier this week the Spencer City Council voted to deny the renewal of the Class C Liquor License for the Southside Grill. Some of the reasons cited were allegations that the bar had repeatedly served alcohol to persons under the legal age, and routinely serves alcohol to intoxicated persons. The establishment’s owner can appeal the license denial to the Iowa Alcohol Beverage Division for review.

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