Ohio store clerk on trial in underage drinking

Published:

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- A former liquor store clerk is standing trial in northwest Ohio for selling vodka to a 17-year-old boy whose friend died later that day in a drunken driving crash.

Blake Pappas, now 19, testified Monday in court in Toledo that the clerk at Foxx Liquor didn't ask for an ID before selling him a bottle of vodka for $53 on Feb. 1, 2013.

Later that day, one of Pappas' friends, 18-year-old Brian Hoeflinger, died in a crash after drinking the liquor at a birthday party and then driving. Hoeflinger had accompanied Pappas to the liquor store after the friends pooled their money for the vodka.

Lucas County Judge James Bates ruled before the start of the trial that attorneys were not to mention the fatal crash to the jury, according to The Blade newspaper (http://bit.ly/1n8vxgn ). The jury must decide only if the liquor was sold to the teen illegally.

The former clerk, 38-year-old Nicholas Thompson, is charged with selling or furnishing intoxicating liquor to a minor. The misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $500 fine.

Thompson denies selling the liquor without asking for an ID. He said in an interview last year with a state agent that he didn't remember making the sale but recognized Pappas as a customer who came into the store quite a bit.

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Information from: The Blade, http://www.toledoblade.com/

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