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Ewing bar linked to fatal crash involving TCNJ student agrees to change business practices

The Landmark Americana Tap and Grill, which is located at The College of New Jersey’s Campus Town development in Ewing, will curtail its business hours, stop serving drink specials that promote unsafe drinking, and change other business practices in the wake of the December fatal motor vehicle crash linked to the bar.

Under a consent order issued by the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Thursday, the Landmark Americana will stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 9:15 p.m. the rest of the week. The bar will stop selling mixed-drink “fishbowls”, pitchers and buckets of beer, and other drink specials, and submit a security plan to the state that addresses the over-consumption of alcohol, underage drinking, and crowd control. The Landmark has also agreed to other conditions curtailing its business activities.

“When alcohol and driving are mixed, the consequences can be deadly, so it is vitally important that establishments that serve alcohol do so responsibly,” Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a written statement about the consent order. “The restrictions placed on the Landmark Americana will help prevent excessive drinking and other unsafe behaviors that can lead to tragedy.”

The terms of the consent order were reached as part of a hearing where agency officials considered the enforcement bureau’s request to impose restrictions on a temporary permit authorizing Landmark to do business in the TCNJ Campus Town retail center.

Landmark had been operating under a temporary authorization permit issued on Oct. 18. The temporary authorization permit was issued to allow the ABC to continue its review of an application for a state concessionaire permit to sell and serve alcohol on state-owned land.

The acting director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s decision to impose conditions on Landmark’s temporary permit was based on an investigation into a fatal car accident involving the driver who left the Landmark on Dec. 2 and then crashed on Route 31, striking another car. Officials said several other matters of concern have been brought to the division’s attention regarding the Landmark.

TCNJ student Michael Sot, a sophomore math major from Clark, was driving on Route 31 near the college, shuttling five friends home Sunday around 2 a.m., when the driver of a 2018 Kia Optima heading in the opposite direction crossed the line and struck his 2007 Dodge Charger. Sot, 20, was the designated driver for the group of friends. The driver of the Kia Optima,  David Lamar V, was charged with vehicular homicide. He allegedly drove while intoxicated.

Under the consent order, Landmark must:

  • Close on or before midnight on Thursday through Saturday, and on or before 10 pm the rest of the week;
  • Schedule and conduct monthly meetings with the TCNJ police to discuss operation of the permitted premises and law enforcement concerns;
  • Sell only one alcoholic beverage per patron at a time; and
  • Maintain the establishment’s existing security cameras in their current locations, store recorded video in an accessible format for a minimum of 45 days, and turn over videos to law enforcement within 48 hours of request.

The special conditions take effect on Jan. 15. A security plan must be submitted by the bar by Jan. 22. Renewals of the bar’s temporary permit will be considered on a month-to-month basis, officials said.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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