ABC commission decides on penalty for Chapel Hill bar

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Chapel Hill bar connected to a triple-fatal DWI crash on I-85 found out Wednesday that the ABC Commission has confirmed a reduction of its suspension.

La Rez - as it's called - has agreed to have the business' ABC permits suspended for 50 days beginning Dec. 18, 2015. The last 36 days of such suspension will now be avoided upon the permittee's payment of a penalty of $5,000 on or before Dec. 11, 2015.

The attorney for La Rez says his client will pay that fine, called for in a previously signed agreement with authorities. The state ABC Commission wants to send a clear message to places in college towns that serve alcohol that people in charge have a responsibility to not serve underage patrons.

Search warrants released days after 20-year-old UNC student Chandler Kania hit a car head-on on Interstate 85 July 19 allege he bought and was served alcohol at La Rez and another Chapel Hill bar, He's Not Here, just before he got in his Jeep that night.

The bar He's Not Here is also facing penalties from the ABC Commission. He's Not Here has a hearing before a judge scheduled for Dec. 28.

"There are still civil lawsuits pending against Mr. Kania and his family, against my client, La Residence, against He's Not Here," said attorney Syd Alexander. "Those are three lawsuits that have been filed, that are working their way through the court system. So this whole tragedy is not over by any means."

La Rez's suspension has been reduced to 14 days by agreeing to pay that $5,000 fine.

"So the fine of $5,000 will be paid in December. And then the suspension, under the rules, begins December 18 to expire December 31," Alexander said. "So there will be no alcohol served during that two week time period."

Kania is currently out of jail on a $1 million bond. He's facing several charges including three counts of second-degree murder, three counts of felony death by motor vehicle, and one count of felony serious injury by motor vehicle. A 9-year-old girl survived the crash.

Chandler Kania in a booking photo.

image courtesy Orange County Sheriff's Office

If convicted on all charges, Kania faces 40 to 50 years in prison.

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