State investigated golf course after DWI deaths
ZACHARY - State alcohol investigators looked into the Copper Mill golf course after seven people were killed in a drunken driving crash last year in Slaughter.
Brett Gerald was golfing there on May 30, 2012, the same day he caused the deadly crash. The investigation conducted by the Office of Alcohol Tobacco Control revealed that three beverage cart servers were unlicensed to serve alcohol the day Gerald was there.
According to the investigative report obtained by News 2, "after the fatalities took place her (beverage cart worker) and two others were informed by Gerry Pockat, manager to get their RV certification immediately."
RV certification stands for responsible vendor certification. It's something people who serve alcohol need to have in order to serve. The three workers obtained their RV certification eight days after the deadly crash on July 7, 2012.
"They did not have permits," said Attorney Jill Craft said, who is representing the victims' families.
"Whether they were able to tie those three servers to the golf course serving that day, I don't know. I do know that's exactly where he was playing golf."
The manager at Copper Mill golf course declined to do an on-camera interview with News 2. However, he did not believe News 2 obtained the ATC investigation, and said we needed to get our facts straight.
Although he would not talk to News 2 on camera, he did speak with ATC investigators. The report goes on to say, "The business is in the process of making changes to monitor alcohol consumption more efficiently."
Copper Mill was not cited by the state for the unlicensed beverage servers. ATC Commissioner Troy Hebert told News 2 it's because the business immediately corrected the problem and got the workers certified.
News 2 did not name the three beverage servers because they were not cited by ATC. It's unclear if they were the ones who actually served Gerald that day, because cash was used for their bar tabs. What is also unclear is whether Copper Mill will have any liability for the seven deaths in Slaughter.
"In Louisiana we have a body of law called 'Dram Shop Law,'" Craft said. "As a matter of policy, our state takes a position if you're a social host or vendor with a permit, you escape liability. I think because the statute couches if it's a vendor with a permit, who knows."
Gerald pleaded guilty and is serving 35 years at Angola. His attorney is appealing the sentence, claiming it's excessive.