Bartender Natalia Ortiz, 25, has been arrested for allegedly serving 11 beers to Edin Palacios, 26, before he drove and killed 18-year-old Jocelynn Valero on her prom night, on May 14, 2016.
The arrest happened on Wednesday, May 16.
“Two years and two days after the anniversary of this tragedy, it is prom season again,” Vehicular Crimes Division Chief Sean Teare said. “It is time for everyone to reflect on the responsibilities they have when serving or consuming alcohol.”
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office said this arrest is the latest prosecution for its new task force that traces crash scenes backward, to find the source of the alcohol.
Officials said Ortiz could face up to a year in jail, for the misdemeanor charge. Palacios was convicted of murder April 6 and sentenced to 32 years in prison.
Teare stressed that authorities are not targeting the service industry employees who provide alcohol responsibly and legally.
“We are going after the very small percentage of servers and establishments out there who negligently and criminally serve alcohol to drunks or minors,” he said.
Natalia Ortiz would not answer our questions as she was arrested by HPD. She’s accused of over-serving a man 11 beer, as he staggered away, crashed and killed a teen @abc13houston pic.twitter.com/qpAXLLiwTf
— Marla Carter (@MarlaABC13) May 16, 2018
— Lauren Talarico (@KHOULauren) May 16, 2018
It’s illegal to overserve someone alcohol & the DA is cracking down. This goes for private parties too. Bartender arrested today for overserving a man who killed a teen in a DUI wreck 2-years ago. The bartender had no idea what was happening. Details on #KHOU11 @ 10. pic.twitter.com/yFd1rmmYXe
— Lauren Talarico (@KHOULauren) May 17, 2018