CI and The Crystal

The CI, The Crystal and Stephens On Court (not pictured) were recently cited for violating public health orders. Photo by Sydney Dawes.

Three Uptown Athens bars were cited for flouting public health orders as the result of an investigation conducted by a division of The Ohio State Highway Patrol into a fatal crash that occurred on the Fourth of July.

Stephen’s On Court, The Crystal and The CI all received administrative citations for improper conduct by the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU), which investigates suspected illegal activity in bars.

During their investigation into the crash, authorities watched surveillance video captured at all three bars and were able to determine each had violated Ohio Department of Health orders on the night of the crash, according to a news release issued Saturday.

Authorities observed patrons in each bar walking around with alcoholic beverages, standing shoulder to shoulder with no social distancing and with employees not wearing masks, the release said.

Stephen’s was cited for disorderly activities, sales to an intoxicated person, permitting removal of an alcoholic beverage sold for on premises consumption, insanitary conditions, failure to notify the division of expansion or change to the permit premises, and operating more than two fixed bars, according to the news release.

The Crystal and The CI were also both cited for disorderly activity, the release said.

Each case will go before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission for potential penalties, including fines and/or the suspension or revocation of liquor permits.

“We see that most of the permit premises are following the precautions put in place to make their establishments safe and they are complying with the directives,” OIU Enforcement Commander Eric Wolf said in a statement. “As agents continue to conduct compliance checks they take enforcement action when egregious violations like these are observed.”

The investigation was conducted to determine whether alcohol was illegally sold or provided to an intoxicated person involved in the fatal crash that occurred July 4 about 2:30 a.m.

Dion Terrance Hill-Delaney, 24, of Reynoldsburg, was killed as the result of the crash.

Christopher M. Witcher Jr., 21, of Columbus, was driving a 2012 Jeep Wrangler southbound on Stewart Street near East Union Street in Athens. The Jeep reportedly had an “excessive” number of passengers when it attempted a sudden left turn into a parking lot and struck a curb.

Hill-Delaney, a passenger, was ejected from the vehicle. He was transported to OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital in Athens where he subsequently died from injuries sustained in the crash.

Alcohol involvement was suspected in the crash, which still remains under investigation, according to the news release.

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