EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 16, 2014

City mulls penalty for restaurant

Board awaits crash review after driver told cops he was drinking there

HAVERHILL — City officials said they are anxiously awaiting the results of a police probe into an incident where a customer of a downtown restaurant drove his car into a pedestrian.

The customer told police he had been drinking before the crash at the popular Hans Garden restaurant on Washington Street, according to a police report.

The restaurant’s owner will face questioning by the License Commission that could lead to eventual punishment. The commission planned to have its review this week, but police in Lawrence, where the pedestrian was hit, have not completed their report.

Licence Commission Chairman Joseph Edwards said when a bar is under scrutiny for over-serving a patron who is then involved in a serious accident, it becomes a matter of public safety and his board follows the situation very closely.

“If someone is drunk as a result of drinking at one of our establishments, it’s very serious,” Edwards said, noting that his board can take actions ranging from liquor license probation or suspension to early closing hours to even revocation of the license.

This is the second notable incident involving the restaurant, which serves Chinese food. The other involved a Methuen man who was drinking there and fell off an outside deck in the rear of the restaurant, where he received serious injuries, according to police.

When contacted by The Eagle-Tribune, restaurant owner Tony Han said he had no comment, based on the advice of his lawyer.

Edwards said he removed Hans Garden from this week’s commission meeting agenda while his board waits for reports from police in Lawrence and Haverhill, as well as from the Essex District Attorney’s Office, which he said is investigating the pedestrian incident.

Last month, Lawrence Police said Nathan Sanborn Jr. of Kensington, N.H., told them he had been drinking at Hans Garden before he was charged with driving into a pedestrian with his pickup truck on the night of Jan. 18. He had a .17 blood alcohol level, police said.

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