St. Charles Bar Faces Citation for Serving Intoxicated Individual

Policed followed drunken man into House Pub to find him with an alcoholic beverage. The police report records an expletive-laced conversation with one of the owners.

Two St. Charles police officers stopped for a traffic light at East Main Street and Riverside Avenue watched a drunken man stumble around the sidewalk before entering a downtown bar.

What came next, after the officers parked their squads and followed the man into , was a profanity-laced confrontation with one of the owners that will be recorded in a report of a state liquor commission violation to the St. Charles Liquor Commission.

Police said the incident began about 1:02 a.m. Friday, March 15, 2013. The officers parked their squads and headed to the bar and was met on the sidewalk by owners Thomas P. Wojcik and Stephen J. Erd. The officers explained they were checking on an intoxicated individual and entered the bar, where they found the man, who had been served a Jameson and Coke.

Wojcik came inside and asked the officer what was going on, and the officer informed him he would be writing up a report indicating the bar had served an alcoholic beverage to an already intoxicated individual.

That was the start of a dispute in which Wojick argued first that that individual had been served a Coke, which the bartender disputed. Then Wojick insisted the individual had not taken a drink yet, and moved the drink away from him. At that point, the officer pointed out that if that argument was true, The House Pub still was harboring an intoxicated individual, also a violation of the liquor code.

Police said that by this point, Wojcik was yelling at the officer, who called in his sergeant. As the situation progressed, police said Wojick became more profane with the sergeant and also used a crotch-grabbing gesture while telling the sergeant to “Patronize this.”

After concluding his investigation, the officer informed one of the other owners that the matter would be reported to the St. Charles Liquor Commission.

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Lois Lane March 19, 2013 at 11:21 PM
Yowzer, sounds like a major, major anger management issue there. So, what happened to the intoxicated patron? Certainly seems that he was behaving better than the part-owner.
Michael Mak March 20, 2013 at 12:39 AM
So a guy walks into a bar and orders a drink , and they bust the owners ! Sounds like the guy, literally just walked in ! He didn't start a fight or cause trouble. So now bartenders in St. Charles mus give Sobriety tests now ? I'm glad the owners stuck up for themselves.
Karl Brubaker March 20, 2013 at 01:45 AM
Oooooohhhhh, David and Ted are just giddy over this article. Two man group hug!!! Cops could have stopped the guy from entering the bar but they parked, followed him in and busted the place. I'm guessing he didn't stumble INSIDE the bar and was coherent when he ordered a drink. That makes the whole thing B.S. Listen, either shut down every bar, install breathalyzers or change the serving hours (like I've suggested several times). Close the bars at 11 and this all goes away. If not, well, learn to live with puke buckets and fights.
Ted Schnell (Editor) March 20, 2013 at 01:54 AM
David who? And why would I be giddy?
Karl Brubaker March 20, 2013 at 02:30 AM
Rather presumptuous to think I was talking about you Ted. There is more than one TED you know. Come on, clarify this case. It's $15 for every 1,000 clicks so jump the shark and get this ball rolling. As far as David, well, there is only one David. http://www.davidhasselhoff.com/ (a hyperlink would have a better impact)
Ted Schnell (Editor) March 20, 2013 at 02:34 AM
I realize which David you mean. I've been subject to a share of criticism for covering this, Karl, so I assumed I was the one you were talking about. My apologies.
Karl Brubaker March 20, 2013 at 03:08 AM
Touche Tedward. Would it be too far off topic to ask a few simple questions? Why did the Burger King close and move? Why did the Colonial close and move? Why are no leases being renewed at the Valley Shopping Center? Time Out Sports bar? Why can't they fill the Dominick's/Geneva Hardware building? The Deck Yard is closed. Blue Moon bar is gone and torn down. Gold filling and car title sales are up. First Street is sucking up millions and nobody cares.
Elizabeth R March 20, 2013 at 11:39 AM
Can you folks not read? It clearly says the police watched the guy staggering around (meaning he appears intoxicated!) He then walks into another bar, which the police then go into to check him out and find the bar has served him more alcohol (over serving) instead of being professional and giving the guy water or a plain coke. Sorry but it's is in violation of ordinances and the police did their jobs and have a duty to make sure even the drunk are safe. For Karl, answers to your questions about Burher King, Colonial, Dominicks it was Shodeen and his plans to redevelop his properties which then fell through. Valley Shopping, it's the owners choice due to it being up for sale for a potential buyer to redevelop. Yes First St is costing us millions, but not due to Police cracking down on bars, it's the developers can't get financing to finish it. Deck Yard, economy again not bar crack downs. Maybe if we clean up drunks stumbling around every night we can get other interest in businesses moving in to vacant space.
Karl Brubaker March 20, 2013 at 02:01 PM
No Thomas, I can't read. Thanks for making me feel so bad about my illiteracy. The cops saw this guy stumbling around and have the right (and some might say duty) to confront him about being publicly intoxicated. Instead, they parked and followed him inside the bar so they could witness him having a drink. I have no sympathy for any of them but it does seem like a gotcha moment. As far as the other questions for Ted, you missed the point. I was trying to get him to write about something else other than the endless stream of "intoxicating" stories.
robert langeness March 20, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Geneva. Note what's going on in St Charles Don't ever become a bar town!
Mattew Hadley March 20, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Sounds like St. Charles has turned this into a profitable business by entrapping patrons AND bar owners and management. also "was harboring an intoxicated individual" vs. what? Turning him to the streets so the cops can arrest him for public Intoxication? CHA-CHING, someones cashing in. Someones making out like a bandit....and it's not the bandits. I've visited most bars in St. Charles and The House Pub is probably the most responsible of the bunch, I can see why Tom was upset.
Mattew Hadley March 20, 2013 at 05:59 PM
or even worse they turn the intoxicated person to the streets and then they walk in front of a car or get behind the wheel. THINK ABOUT IT?
joe torre March 20, 2013 at 09:35 PM
If you look at what time most of these problems occur, I think the solution is easy. Close the bars early. Sorry bar owners, rules are rules and your not following them. If you hire the right people and train them to do their job and you commit to it all would be good.
Elizabeth R March 20, 2013 at 09:46 PM
Matthew, nobody said send him out to the streets, but to continue to serve him more liquor instead of offering to call him a taxi to ride home and coke or a glass of water? Cha-Ching the bar instead of making $0 on a glass of water or $1 on a coke sold him a drink at what $6-10? They have to squeeze every dime out of their evening instead of doing the right thing. The owner got caught and didn't like it. Had the guy been sitting with water there would have been NO STORY to write.
Elizabeth R March 20, 2013 at 09:51 PM
Karl as far as asking Ted about new items from years ago like Colonial, Dominicks and all that, so that's reporting current news? Ted's job is to report what has been happening recently not years ago. It isn't his fault or the police's that mmuch of todays news revolves around drinking. If the bars and patrons don't like it, then they can learn to run their businesses properly and patrions need to learn to either cut themselves off or handle their liquor better. Trying to point blame at everyone else but those who are involved is pretty sad. It's that victim mentality of today's culture.
Ted Schnell (Editor) March 20, 2013 at 09:52 PM
Hey Joe, I'm not certain blaming the bar owners is the answer. Certainly there are problems, but they are businessmen and businesswomen trying to eke out a living like the rest of us. The product they sell does put them under an additional level of responsibility than other business owners. You never hear, for example, of someone buying a new lawnmower and then running out and, er, mowing people down as he takes it home. That said, the rules the bar owners are under set expectations that seem difficult to meet. You could serve someone a beer and within 15 minutes, the two or three he had in the prior hour or two could kick into his system. Bam, all of the sudden, you have an intoxicated individual who has been served. To date, I credit the bars and tavern owners with making a good-faith effort to get the situation under control. They've formed an association, instituted a banned list and generally are calling police before molehills become mountains. But personal accountability among patrons is a big consideration. I don't know what the final solution will look like on this, but I hope it comes soon. I simply report what's happening in town and sometimes take flak for it. That goes with the job -- journalists have been dealing with people who don't like the news since the profession began.
Matt D March 21, 2013 at 01:17 AM
Thomas R. First off. The establishments that are continually being fined or suspended need to be individually accountable. You sound like a genius. Obviously because you run a successful restaurant or bar. This is America and each individual should be accountable for there own actions. If one business owner can't run their business that their problem with the city. Leave the rest of us out of it. That goes to the under educated Alderman in this almost Chicago type political BS ran town. I do agree that some of the instances that have happened in the recent years are part business owners problems. The bigger problem are the customers and the lack of discipline that is given by their actions by police or bars/restaurants. The changing of hours has nothing to do with the violations. The statistics would prove it. If you could find them. What changing of the hours does to the businesses is take away customers and put their money in other towns. Thank you City of st Charles for buying a building dirt cheap then leasing it to another bar for dirt cheap but yet griping about liqour licenses and the issues that come with them. You rock!
Elizabeth R March 21, 2013 at 01:42 AM
Matt I agree, those bars who are causing the problems should be held accountible. I think the bar association is a good thing and trying to work with each other. I know also there are certain bars that have gotten away for years with letting stuff happen and causing problems. I am not for closing the bars down earlier, that was part of the deal for the extra tax. But with that I have no pity for those bars and I think they should come down hard on them. Why in this story the owner went nuts has only nailed the nails into his own coffin. The Police need to hold patron more accountible as well, lock en up when they are caught vomitting on other buildings, fighting or urinating in public. If people know the police will act fair but not take any crap patrons will get the message as those certain bars I think are as well. But this over serving is going to as you say cause someone to fall or walk out into traffic, get hit maybe killed and then all "hell is going to break loose". I can't believe the City hasn't woken up to that risk and installed railings along Main St. I simply will not blame the Police for trying to keep peace and do what they are supposed to do. Ya think they enjoy dealing with all this? I know they don't. Whoever it is causing the issues needs to be accountible and serving a stumbling drunk another drink does not get my pity. Sorry.
Matt D March 21, 2013 at 02:10 AM
Thomas R. U are exactly correct. I believe in the Police and accountability. But people and other business owners can't be accountable for others mistakes. Which is happening. Bar owners going a Lil off ? It happens and I can only say that it's really frustrating with the people that are running the town make up rules as they go and because of how they feel. They have no experience and genuine care for the business community that supports them. Business is business and it money needs to be made at all costs. Ask the UPPERS and actually try to get a real answer. Where does the money come from? Business tax rev makes the world go round. I'm not doggin on you this is more of a wake up blast. Small minded people with their own personal ideology do not make for a successful town. St Charles is beautiful and a great community with great schools, business and a stellar PD and FD. What needs to happen is the changing of the guards. Business paves the way for development and improvement. For all tax payers. Regardless of how big or small.
Elizabeth R March 21, 2013 at 11:16 AM
Matt, Again we agree, the current leaders don't know much about business, or how to build business. It has all been about building condos/apts for the past years. But you must agree also, that the problem side of what's going on with the bars isn't helping the image or the drawing of other business down there. In fact other businesses are tired of vandalism, vomit on the side walks and also it is not a family environment to bring kids down to any longer. We have a chance to bring in new faces on April 9th. A new Mayor and some new Councilmen if only people make the correct votes. I know bars are looking out for their profits but they also need to look at the bigger picture of what it is turning the downtown into. You can all have successful businesses and not have to deal with this misfit immature crowd of drinkers if you decide you won't put up with them any longer. The older crowd has even more money and I know from talking to many, they wish they has places that catered to their likes towards an evening out. You surely don't see these trouble making punks in Francesca's or Za Za's. It's those types of people more bars should try and draw towards. In my mind a lot less issues would occur. Sure you will always have young drinkers but even there, 95% are good people. The bars simply need to identify the troubled ones and ban them. They know who they are just as the Police know who they are. This is fixable if bars really wish to fix it. Also agree City isn't helping at all.
Mattew Hadley March 21, 2013 at 05:38 PM
Thomas R, Read this is from the above article and tell me that by following this rule you aren't turning the patron to the street...." At that point, the officer pointed out that if that argument was true, The House Pub still was harboring an intoxicated individual, also a violation of the liquor code."
Elizabeth R March 21, 2013 at 05:59 PM
Matt, I honesty do not undertsand the comment by police since then every bar in town who has an intoxicated person (which is everyone of them around closing time) would be harboring intoxicated individuals. There must be something here missing as it doesn't make any sense. Maybe Ted can inquire and try to get an explanation or clarity on this statement from Police or the Mayor. How about it Ted?
Ted Schnell (Editor) March 21, 2013 at 07:13 PM
As it has been explained to me by police and city officials, once a bar has determined someone is intoxicated, the person should be encouraged to leave -- the idea being they take a cab or call a friend for a ride. Also, as I understand it, the bars are required to bar entry to anyone they believe already is intoxicated. That places the responsibility on the bar to make sure intoxicated individuals: a) are no longer being served (at this point, over-serve) by the establishment, and b) that the intoxicate individuals are sent on their way home so as to pose no further problems, either in that establishment or by going into another. To allow the intoxicated individual to remain is considered harboring that individual, if my understanding is correct. I believe it is. The bars rely on something called BASSETT training (Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training "Training Servers to Serve Responsibly"). More information on it is available at http://www.state.il.us/lcc/basset/. BASSETT training is, however, somewhat subjective. That concerns me, as subjective judgments can be prone to human error. Even the use of a Breathalyzer is problematic, because the full effects of the alcohol consumed may not register in the blood for some time after the last drink was consumed. Hence, when police arrest someone on a DUI charge, the officer must sit with and observe the individual for a period of time before giving a breath test to get an accurate reading.
Ted Schnell (Editor) March 21, 2013 at 07:25 PM
I wonder, too, if the typical merchant's concern for developing a rapport with customers plays a role. If you know someone as a regular, and have a good relationship with him or her, would you be less willing to ask the person to leave if he/she had had too much to drink? From a business perspective, building that rapport is important -- an integral part of building a successful patron base. Asking someone to leave might threaten that -- some very likely could react with anger. Now you've lost a customer and likely a friend as well. These are tough issues to balance. I do not envy the bar owners on this issue, It is a complicated, tough spot to be in. But that also boils down to individual responsibility of both the patron and the bar. It's no wonder bar owners are tense about this. Yet the police officers should be respected throughout. They're job is tough, too, as they balance public safety, their own personal safety and enforcement of the law. I honestly hope the efforts between the bar owners and Police Chief Jim Lamkin continue. The chief has said there has been progress, and he is scheduled to make another report to the council on this issue on Monday. Despite what my own detractors have said about my coverage, I do not relish writing these kinds of stories. But they are an important part of my job as well in terms of getting the information out to the community about what's happening in St. Charles -- both good and bad.
Elizabeth R March 21, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Thanks Ted for getting it explained. It is a very touch policy as every bar every evening is in violation if held to the letter of that ordinance or law. Seems the City Council may wish to review that a little and just sit and think about that. I see what it is meant to do but it surely doesn't protect the intoxicated person or the bar. What if the patron goes out and walks into traffic or gets into a car, since the bar new he was drunk does that not cause a liability? And since the ordinance forces bar to put them on the street does that also not set up liabaility on the City if something terrible happens when maybe as you say Ted a regular who the bar knows would allow them time and maybe a coffee to help sober them up? I don't know it's a sketchy rule that may need addressing in my mind. Maybe some sort of time allowance is needed in it before the bars are charge with harboring. But if the bar is still serving them then it makes total sense.
Ted Schnell (Editor) March 21, 2013 at 10:47 PM
Also keep in mind that the police officers have discretion on some of these things. An intoxicated person who cooperates is less likely to get cited if he leaves peacefully, for example. In once instance in recent months, police were called to a restaurant about an intoxicated individual who would not leave. The officers arrived, convinced him to pay his bill and then convinced him to call a cab, although at first he wanted to drive home. The officers waited until the cab picked him up, and all was good. The city has some discretion as well on these things. There are times when it may indicate there was a problem, but when th liquor commission begins evaluating it, it finds perhaps there was not, or that it was unclear and therefore not prosecutable. A lot of it comes down to evidence and attitudes. Showing respect, I think, is key in any situation, regardless of the outcome.
SportzFan March 25, 2013 at 05:51 PM
matthew i agree...let him in and serve him a citation for serving an intoxicated person. let him in and serve him water a citation for harboring an intoxicated person. don't let him in and let him walk the streets drunk....no liability here. there was a story in the patch where a bar was reported because a person had 2 receipts on him from earlier that night when he was picked up after hours for disorderly conduct. when is the individual responsible for there own actions?
Mitch Riverman April 02, 2013 at 01:38 AM
What was the mans blood alcohol reading? Is that in the report?
Ted Schnell (Editor) April 02, 2013 at 05:52 AM
No Mitch -- the BAC was not in the report.


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