A complaint from a citizen has prompted the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) to launch an investigation into a bar’s service of a customer who allegedly caused a crash while driving impaired.

Graham Wadsworth, senior manager of inspections south for the AGLC, confirms the agency is investigating the actions of a restaurant/bar in southwest Calgary.

“(The complainant said) they were aware of a motor vehicle accident in which an individual was at a licensed premises,” said Wadsworth. “The individual was intoxicated and involved in the motor vehicle accident and there were serious injuries.”

On Thursday evening, shortly before 7:00 p.m., two SUVs collided head-on at a location along 24 St SW, south of Anderson Road, between the communities of Woodbine and Woodlands.

Staff members of the Oakridge Boston Pizza confirm they had unsuccessfully attempted to stop a male customer, who they believed to be intoxicated, from getting behind the vehicle of a Ford Escape minutes before the crash.

“Calgary police were called by witnesses at a restaurant north of this location saying that someone was leaving there that had far too much to drink and was insisting on getting in his vehicle,” said Sgt. Joerg Gottschling of the CPS traffic section.

According to police, a southbound Ford Escape, driven by a man in his 60s, crossed the median and collided with a northbound Toyota Highlander being driven by a woman believed to be in her 50s. The two drivers, the lone occupants of the vehicles, were extricated from the wreckage and transported to hospital in non-life threatening condition for treatment of injuries deemed serious.

The crash occurred at a location approximately two kilometres from the Boston Pizza.

Wadsworth says all servers in the liquor service industry in the province of Alberta must have ProServe accreditation. The ProServe program outlines responsible service of liquor product.

“If individuals are deemed to have been served too much, (severs) are responsible to intervene, interrupt service and introduce non-alcoholic beverages or remove the individual from the premises,” said Wadsworth. “A restaurant, bar, a licensed establishment may not serve to and beyond the point of intoxication.”

Jordan Holm, senior vice-president of Boston Pizza International Inc., declined to comment on the active police investigation and issued the following statement regarding the restaurant chain’s policies:

“Boston Pizza takes the service of alcohol in our establishments very seriously for the safety of our Guests, our staff and our communities. All Boston Pizza restaurant employees that are involved with the service of alcohol must complete the government training program mandated by their province (e.g. Alberta is Pro Serve). In addition, Boston Pizza has developed an internal training program regarding the service of alcohol which all staff in that capacity must complete annually.”

Wadsworth says the province’s strong stance on responsible liquor service is a proactive measure to prevent tragedy.

“The incident that came to my attention, and the AGLC’s attention, ultimately, it’s something that we’re very sad when we hear of this type of event,” explained Wadsworth. “That’s really the reason behind our attention towards compliance and enforcement of the rules around liquor product and, in particular, intoxication.”

“The AGLC is thinking about the families involved in this event and certainly we will do what we can from a licensed premises perspective.”

The Calgary Police Service continues to investigate Thursday night’s crash.