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Published: 6/15/2002

State charges W. Toledo bar in traffic deaths

A West Toledo bar received five charges against its liquor permit yesterday from the Ohio Department of Public Safety for its involvement in a traffic accident Dec. 15 that killed a Toledo woman and her 8-year-old granddaughter.

The Sports Zone, 1020 Sylvania Ave., was cited for continuing to serve alcohol to an intoxicated patron who later struck the two at North Detroit Avenue and Ambia Street with his car.

Killed were Angeleina Anzino, 57, and her granddaughter, Vivian Sierra, both of Ambia. Joe A. Smith, Jr., 33, of Toledo, the driver of the car, was indicted Dec. 28 by a Lucas County grand jury on two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide.

His blood-alcohol level at the time of the accident was 0.211 per cent, more than twice the legal limit for an Ohio driver. His case is pending in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

The bar was charged with:

  • Furnishing beer to an intoxicated person.

  • Allowing improper conduct - complicity in a vehicular homicide.

  • Giving away alcoholic beverages in connection with the operation of the business.

  • Sale of beer or intoxicating liquor at a fixed price for an unlimited quantity.

  • Encouraging excessive consumption of beer or intoxicating liquor.

    Shortly before the accident, Mr. Smith attended a party at the bar hosted by Federal Express Ground. Bar employees and people attending the party told investigators that “Mr. Smith arrived at the party around noon and consumed alcohol until close to 5 p.m., and drove his car while intoxicated,” according to a statement released by public safety department.

    Ms. Anzino and her granddaughter were in a crosswalk on North Detroit at Ambia about 6 p.m. Dec. 15 when the traffic signal changed from green to red and they were struck by the car, which was southbound on Detroit.

    Mr. Smith was driving with a suspended driver's license. As a result, he could face a mandatory prison sentence of at least three years on each count if convicted, John Weglian, chief of the special units division of the Lucas County Prosecutor's Office, has said.

    The liquor-permit holder faces a hearing in Columbus before the state's Liquor Control Commission. Possible penalties include a fine, permit suspension, or permit revocation.

    The bar owner could not be reached for comment last night.



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