After-hours imbibing earns Orio’s 3-day closure

Bar’s videotape like ‘an episode of ‘Court TV’

Orio’s Roadhouse must close for three days before the end of the year as a sanction for allowing alcohol to be consumed on the bar’s premises on Main Avenue after 2 a.m. on July 31, according a ruling by the Local Licensing Authority on Tuesday.

The bar’s license was suspended for a total of five days, but two days were held in abeyance for six months as long as there are no more violations.

The closures will be determined by the bar and advertised with a sign.

The licensing board dismissed another charge that the bar had sold alcohol after 2 a.m. for lack of evidence.

The bar has a policy of beginning to close down around 1:30 a.m., but it was understaffed that night when a doorman called in sick, leaving the bartender, Shelton Urquidez, to manage by himself.

Arguing on behalf of the bar, lawyer Paul Whistler said Orio’s should not have been held liable for “rogue incident by a rogue customer.”

A patron had waved a beer and chugged it in front of Durango Police Sgt. Rita Warfield, telling her he had “(expletive) right to drink” sometime after she had entered the bar after 2 a.m. when all alcohol consumption should have stopped.

This was the main evidence of alcohol drinking because Warfield and another officer had to arrest the patron for disruptiveness and take him outside to a police cruiser. The officers called it a dangerous situation because people started streaming out of the bar during the arrest. The officers were out-numbered by 20 to 2.

The board reached its ruling after watching about an hour of videotape from the bar’s cameras. Board member Robert Ledger said the hearing was like an “episode of ‘Court TV.’”

With the video, Warfield also pointed out that the bartender had served alcohol about eight minutes before 2 a.m., but that is not illegal because it is still within the legal time.

The bartender also argued that the drinks were shots to be consumed quickly. Whistler apologized for the profane name of the shots since they involve an expletive.

Whistler also disclosed he will serve as an associate municipal judge for the city, but it was not considered to be a conflict of interest.

jhaug@durangoherald.com

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