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Mother of man ‘over-served’ alcohol at Kelsey’s restaurant before fatal car crash speaks out

The mother of a 22-year-old man from Burk’s Falls, Ont., is speaking out less than two years after his death in a car crash after leaving a Kelsey’s restaurant where the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario says he was over-served alcohol.

“We heard that he had been served 18 ounces. We don’t drink, so we didn’t have any clue what that meant. So when we came home, we poured out a bunch of glasses, and it was probably the hardest point we had as a family to look at that,” said Colton Orr’s mother, Tina Moore.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) alleges staff at the Huntsville restaurant served him 18 shots of liquor in under four hours.

“During that period, the customer showed increasing signs of intoxication, yet staff continued serving alcohol to the customer until closing time,” according to a statement by the AGCO.

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The commission says the customer drove away after last call and crashed their car “within minutes.”

It says the customer died from the injuries sustained in the crash.

“When he went to leave, he went outside and then went back inside because he had forgot his phone and keys on the bar and then went back outside, got in his car and left,” Moore said. “The manager was with them at some point, but then once the manager went somewhere, he left on his own. They immediately called OPP and notified them.”

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Moore said an OPP officer went searching for Orr’s vehicle but by the time it was located, he’d crashed.

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She said lab reports showed his blood alcohol concentration was 0.229 about 30 minutes after the crash. The legal limit is 0.08.

“At a certain point, I don’t believe that he is capable of making rational decisions after a certain amount of alcohol,” Moore said.

The AGCO was seeking a 60-day liquor licence suspension but reached a settlement with Kelsey’s in which the establishment will serve a 45-day liquor sales licence suspension starting March 18.

“Liquor licensees in Ontario are required to meet their obligations for the safe and responsible sale of alcohol and have a specific duty not to serve customers who are or appear to be intoxicated,” a spokesperson told Global News in a statement.

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Despite the devastating loss, Moore said Orr’s family is not looking to lay blame.

“My son played a role in this. Others played a role in this. It’s a collective of events that led to this tragedy,” she said.

Moore added that the best way to honour her son’s memory is to understand the consequences of drinking and driving and for staff in bars and restaurants to follow the laws around the safe and responsible sale of alcohol.

“This is a collective of events, a collective of decisions that were made and it doesn’t do anybody any good unless you learn from them. It’s just a lesson,” she said.

In the living room of the family home, which is decorated with photographs of all five of her children, Moore flipped through her favourite photos of Orr.

“He was definitely the middle child…. He was always the one that would have fun. He lived life to the fullest. With what’s happened, it makes us more comforted that he did really live it up,” she said.

“He’s always been very protective of his family, especially his siblings. He was the one that would always be around and take care of them.”

Moore hopes parents use Orr’s story as a lesson for their own children.

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“I would be sitting down with my children and asking them to make a pledge within themselves that they will never put their mother in the position of having that call…. Care enough about yourself that you’re never going to put yourself in that position or your family.”

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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