Where and how did a Lubbock 20-year-old get alcohol that later led to an intoxication manslaughter case? That's the question the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission is trying to answer in the crash that killed Texas Tech student Amber Menafee. Police say Erin Nicole Reagan had a blood alcohol level of .147, nearly twice the legal limit, when she was going the wrong way on the West Loop last month. Regan crashed into Menefee's car and is now charged with intoxication manslaughter.
Sources say Reagan told police that she had been at a friend's house before the crash. But that still leaves many unanswered questions about who provided the alcohol to an underage adult? TABC says, "in a source investigation it's just what it says. If you have a minor involved in an alcohol related incident or fatality we ask what is the source of the alcohol? How did alcohol get in her hands and was it legitimately there and that person abused that and was involved in the accident?"
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Answering those questions along with what else TABC can do stop underage drinking is the focus of a public forum in Lubbock on Friday. NewsChannel 11's Jennifer Vogel explains what you can do to help curb alcohol related incidents in Lubbock.
TABC has numerous programs to help keep alcohol out of the wrong hands, but now they're asking the community for their ideas about how the agency can improve its efforts. Amber's aunt Sharon Jones told NewsChannel 11 back in February, "This is the end and this is the last time when they close the casket, it's the last time we'll see Amber." She buried her niece that day, Amber Menefee, who was killed by a suspected drunk driver.
The Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission want your help so another family won't have to bury a loved one. Lt. Gene Anderson says, "Help us, we have expended our thoughts on this." TABC already has sting operations to catch minors buying alcohol, businesses selling drinks to minors, and public intoxication stings. But they say as long as people are still breaking the law, it's not enough. "We want to talk to the public about what we're doing and see how we're doing and tell them what we've come up with and ways we're trying to help public safety issues."
Public safety tops the list of TABC priorities, and they hope that working with the community will stop statements like these from Sharon Jones from being true, "all these innocent people dying for something that just doesn't even make sense."
Again, TABC would like your comments on how they can make our community safer. Some topics they would like input on are how to stop fake ID's, selling to minors, and preventing drunk drivers on the streets. The forum is Friday morning at 10 o'clock. It's at the Texas Department of Transportation. That's at 135 Slaton Road.
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