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Police union cited for liquor violations

State authorities yesterday cited the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association for liquor violations after an off-duty police dispatcher who was intoxicated was killed in an accident shortly after leaving the TPPA lounge.

The TPPA is the liquor permit holder for the lounge, 1947 Franklin Ave.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety's investigative unit gave the TPPA three notices with the following violations: sale of intoxicating liquor to an intoxicated person, sale of intoxicating liquor to a nonmember, allowing improper conduct (sale of intoxicating liquor to an intoxicated person - resulting in fatality), and sale of beer to a nonmember.

Two of the civil citations are related to violations March 27 and March 28. The third was issued after undercover agents were sold alcohol at the lounge Tuesday, said Earl Mack, agent-in-charge of enforcement operations in northwest Ohio for the investigative unit.

Ronald D. Navarro II, 30, died from injuries he suffered in the crash March 28 near downtown Toledo. Police said he was driving south on 17th Street about 1 a.m. when he went through the red light at Monroe Street. His vehicle then veered off the road, jumped a curb, and hit the corner of the building at 1717 Monroe St.

Police Chief Mike Navarre requested the investigation by the state agency after learning of Mr. Navarro's blood-alcohol level - 0.35 percent - and the facts as they were known to him that Mr. Navarro had left the lounge just before the accident.

In Ohio, a driver with a blood-alcohol content of at least 0.08 percent is considered to be legally intoxicated.

Chief Navarre said his department is not conducting criminal or administrative investigations into the matter.

"There's no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of any department members nor have there been any allegations of wrongdoing related to this tragic accident," he said.

Mr. Mack said his agents are not looking to file any criminal charges at this time.

Chief Navarre said he does not believe there is any violation of department policies with respect to the association owning or operating the lounge.

Gregg Harris, president of the TPPA, declined comment yesterday.

Mr. Navarro's father, Ronald - who is a lieutenant in the department and the chief's administrative assistant - said he and his family still are grieving and are declining comment at this time.

The lounge can continue to operate until a hearing on the violations is held before the Liquor Control Commission in Columbus, Mr. Mack said.

He said the investigation revealed the younger Mr. Navarro consumed alcohol at the lounge for several hours prior to the accident. He said witnesses saw Mr. Navarro intoxicated at the lounge that night.

"He was served too much alcohol," Mr. Mack said.

He said a nonpolice employee was the barmaid who served Mr. Navarro, whom he said was not a member of the lounge.

Mr. Mack said according to the liquor permit - which is a private club license - a person has to be a member of the lounge to be served. That's why the TPPA was cited after undercover agents, who are not lounge members, were sold alcohol this week.

Mr. Mack said he is not aware of any prior violations at the lounge. "We never really had a complaint," he said.

Mr. Mack commended Chief Navarre for making the difficult decision to request the investigation.

"He wanted to maintain the integrity of the organization," Mr. Mack said.

Dale A. Jones, Jr., president of the Greater Toledo Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, had not heard about the violations, but said his group would like to follow the case.

"They should be held accountable for their actions," he said. "We can't say they are above the law. They are there to enforce it."

Contact Christina Hall at

chall@theblade.com or

419-724-6007.

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