BY BRYNA ZUMER, firstname.lastname@example.org
4:02 PM EST, November 14, 2013
The owner of Bel Air's Half Pints Sports Pub & Grill was fined $4,000 and the eatery's liquor license was suspended for five days by the Harford County Liquor Control Board after the proprietor was found guilty in circuit court of getting into an accident while driving drunk.
Nicholas Molyneux, who runs the pub on Agora Drive, acknowledged during a Wednesday liquor board hearing that he was intoxicated while on duty, gave alcohol to a visibly drunk person and failing to be a fit applicant, in violation of liquor board regulations.
The drunk-driving charges stem from a December 2012 incident in which Molyneux fled the scene of an accident at 9:48 p.m. on Route 22 in Churchville, liquor inspector Charles Robbins read from a violation report to the board.
After a state trooper found Molyneux at his Havre de Grace home and identified him as the driver, Molyneux allegedly told the officer: "I do the same thing every night. I have drinks with my regular customers and drive home," Robbins read.
Liquor board members found that part of the report particularly troubling, and ended up fining Molyneux $2,000 for intoxication while on duty and another $2,000 for selling alcohol to an intoxicated person.
Molyneux had also been fined $1,000 in 2010 and $2,000 in 2011 for selling liquor to an underage customer.
Molyneux admitted to all three counts before the liquor board through his lawyer, Joseph Snee. Molyneux was present for the hearing, but did not speak.
"Mr. Molyneux regrets the incident; he has done his best to put it behind him," Snee said, adding the licensee has taken steps to ensure it will not happen again.
Molyneux has not consumed alcohol since the incident and will not do so in the future, regardless of whether he is working or not, Snee told the board.
Liquor board member Michael Thomson said the only thing that "bugs" him is Molyneux's statement about "doing the same thing every night."
"That is a lot to agree to," Thomson said. "It just frustrates me."
Board member Thomas Fidler agreed, saying he was surprised the licensee agreed so easily to the charge.
"It gives me cause for concern," he said.
The board ended up ordering the five-day suspension on the count of the licensee being unfit.