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TABC investigating source of alcohol after man accused of driving drunk with victim's body in car

Under Texas law, alcohol retailers must decline service to people showing signs of intoxication.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is investigating the source of alcohol served to a man accused of drunkenly hitting a pedestrian in South Austin on Saturday night and driving for half a mile with the body before stopping at a bar.

On Wednesday, the TABC said 24-year-old Paul Joseph Garcia indicated to police he had consumed alcohol at multiple businesses prior to the crash.

Its investigation will determine whether those businesses served alcohol to an intoxicated customer before the incident. Under Texas law, alcohol retailers must decline service to people showing signs of intoxication.

TABC has declined to name any business until the investigation is complete.

RELATED: Man accused of drunkenly hitting pedestrian in South Austin, driving with 'mangled corpse' in vehicle

Witnesses told police Garcia was driving a 2014 white Ford Focus without headlights at high speed when he hit pedestrian Lee Martin Cagle, 55, who was walking near Slaughter Lane.

The body of the pedestrian reportedly went through Garcia’s car windshield, landing on the passenger seat. The affidavit said Cagle had extreme, traumatic head injuries and some body extremities were detached and left in the roadway and inside the vehicle.

Garcia allegedly proceeded to drive south on Menchaca Road after the incident, before stopping outside South Austin Beer Garden. Witnesses told police he calmly walked away from his car and entered the beer garden barefoot.

Garcia was not served alcohol and was detained for further investigation. Police were called to the scene just after 10:30 p.m.

RELATED: South Austin Beer Garden offers rideshare users a discount off their tabs

According to the affidavit, Garcia had blood evidence on him that matched the body found inside the vehicle. The document said Garcia had continued “to drive for one-half miles with a mangled corpse in the vehicle.”

Credit: Austin Police Department
Paul Joseph Garcia

He was arrested and charged with intoxication manslaughter, a second-degree felony, and accident involving injury.

On Tuesday, records showed he was at the Travis County Correctional Complex with a combined bail of $110,000.

Any businesses found to be serving alcohol to intoxicated customers could face a civil fine up to $7,200 as well as a temporary suspension of their license to sell alcohol. In cases of repeat offenders, a business’s license could be revoked.


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