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January 23, 2014

Haverhill bar feels heat after accident

License Commission to question owner

Lawrence Police say Nathan Sanborn Jr. told them he had been drinking at the Hans Garden in downtown Haverhill before he was arrested with a .17 blood alcohol level for allegedly running into a pedestrian with his pickup truck Saturday night.

The accident has left Jose Diaz, 24, of Lawrence fighting for his life in a Boston hospital.

Now, Joseph Edwards, chairman of the Haverhill License Commission, has asked Haverhill police to gather information about the accident and that the owner of Hans Garden, Tony Hans, be summonsed to the commission’s Feb. 20 meeting.

Edwards said the commission will consider disciplinary action against the popular Chinese food restaurant and bar on Washington Street which has a history of alcohol-related problems. In September 2012, the restaurant was cited for over-serving a 26-year-old man who then toppled backward off a second-story deck overlooking the Merrimack River. The commission gave the restaurant probation for six months, but decided not to take more substantive action because the victim declined to talk to the commission or local police.

Also in 2012, the commission reviewed another complaint against Hans Garden for not allowing police officers to immediately enter the premises after they showed a security officer at the front door their law enforcement credentials. At the time, Edwards said the undercover officers were looking for a suspect, but were delayed from entering the establishment by a bouncer who insisted on seeing the officers’ photo identification in addition to their badges.

“People like you and you’re a friendly guy,” Edwards told Tony Hans at a November 2012 meeting. “But you serve too many drinks to too many people.”

Sanborn, 21, of Kensington, N.H. was arraigned Tuesday in Lawrence District Court on charges he struck Diaz with his Ford F-150 pickup while driving drunk.

Officers at the scene said they smelled alcohol and urine on Sanborn, who told police he’d been drinking at Hans Garden prior to the accident, according to court papers. A breath test showed his blood alcohol level was .17, twice the legal limit, police said.

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