Breese mayor: Investigation will help decide whether bar is sanctioned

News-DemocratJune 13, 2014 

The mayor of Breese said Friday he's waiting for the police investigation to wrap up before deciding whether to impose sanctions against the liquor license of the bar visited by a young woman before she was hit by a motorist and killed.

The motorist, Jonathon Nast, also had been at the same bar, Big Stix Bar & Grill.

Mayor Charlie Hilmes said that, so far, there are no indications that the business violated any city liquor ordinances in connection with the weekend hit-and-run.

The accident claimed the life of a pedestrian, 23-year-old Lana Albert of Edwardsville.

"We have not been made aware of any violations," Hilmes said. "That's part of the investigation. If we find something that isn't right, action will be taken."

The bar's owner could not be reached for comment Friday.

Hilmes said Big Stix hasn't had any sanctions imposed against its liquor license since about four years ago -- when topless female patrons were riding a mechanical bull.

"They had some kind of bull-riding thing out there, and it turned out that some of the girls were basically taking their tops off," Hilmes said.

In response, Hilmes ordered the bar closed for a week. Additionally, the following week, the bar was required to close at 1 a.m., instead of the regular time prescribed by city ordinance: 3 a.m.

In Breese, as is the case with many other communities, the mayor serves as the city's liquor commissioner.

Breese ordinances allow bars to serve liquor until 3 a.m. At 2 a.m., they're required to shut the door and not allow additional patrons to enter.

Breese Police received reports about 2:13 a.m. Sunday of a woman walking in and out of traffic on old U.S. 50 on the west side of Breese. Albert's body was found shortly afterward along the roadway.

Hilmes said the bar has had typical problems, including fights on the parking lot.

"We're taking a look at the number of incidents we have there. If there is an increase in the number of incidents, we'll want to sit down with the owner to see if there's a way to solve the problem. And there are always other options available," he said.

Hilmes said the bar also has had the typical problems of intoxicated patrons driving after leaving the bar.

"But our police know, at the end of the night, we want to be out there to get those people off the road, if at all possible," he said.

Contact reporter Brian Brueggemann at bbrueggemann@bnd.com or 239-2511.

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