HARRIS COUNTY - A Cypress bartender has been charged in connection with a drunk driving crash that killed a 23-year-old woman.
World of Beer on Barker Cypress Road is the bar where a bartender served too many beers to his coworker who then got in a car and hit and killed someone, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
Bartender Miguel Rizo, 25, served the alcohol that helped contribute to the death of Mayra Ospina, 23, according to prosecutors. She was hit and killed by alleged drunk driver Zachary Castro, 26, on January 27.
“We discovered that 13 minutes prior to this crash, Castro had left the World of Beer,” said Sean Teare, the vehicular crimes Chief for the Harris County DA’s Office.
“We went and got surveillance footage. We got some witness statements that showed him in that bar for two and a half hours prior to this crash.”
Teare says the bartender served his coworker—who was off work at the time—at least two beers, and it was caught on surveillance video. That video has not yet been released to Fox 26. Teare says the driver was at another bar before World of Beer.
“It shows him stumbling prior to and when he is served the second beer,” said Teare.
Rizo was arrested Sunday, charged with two misdemeanor liquor violations: providing alcohol to an intoxicated person and permitting an intoxicated person to remain on the premises.
“It is also a matter of responsibility for the bars—for the owners of the bar—to create a culture of understanding and compliance with the laws of the State of Texas, because those laws are designed to keep us safe on the road,” said Carlos Mejias, the attorney representing the victim’s family. “And this may not have happened—it simply may not have happened—if they had just cut him off as they should have.”
Mejias says Ospina’s family is now pursuing a lawsuit against World of Beer.
Prosecutors say Ospina had pulled over to help another driver when she was hit and killed by the drunk driver.
“The family is destroyed still,” said Mejias. “They lost a tremendous member of their family—you know, their little girl who was driving, stopped at the side of the road to go help somebody who was stalled out and then got hit by this drunk driver, so they’re still hurting quite a bit.”
Mejias says Ospina was known as a helper, and after she died she continued to help others by donating her organs.
As for the bartender who served the drunk driver, he could face up to a year in jail if convicted.