Family of Ottawa Hills teen killed in drunk-driving crash react to liquor store clerk indictment
Nick McGill | WNWO.com
Nick is a reporter and anchor for WNWO Today
Nearly six months ago the quiet village of Ottawa Hills was shocked by tragedy. Brian Hoeflinger,18, was leaving a party when he crashed his car into a tree. A day his parents will never forget, his mother Cindy told WNWO “I don’t ever forget or stop thinking about what happened to him and how preventable it was”
Autopsy results revealed Brian had a blood alcohol level of .15, several times the legal limit for a minor. The clerk who sold the alcohol faces charges of selling to a minor…a crime that can carry a 1000 dollar fine and up to six months in jail.
Ohio law says stores must make sure customers are of age before they can buy alcohol, but Lucas County Prosecutors say, that’s exactly what didn’t happen, Chief of the Criminal Division Jeff Lingo told us “Obviously the young person that purchased that alcohol is nowhere near the clerks are required to ask for identification, they did not.”
But Lingo says even more troubling, was the fact that this wasn’t the first time, adding that “What concerned us is that it’s the second violation in less than a year, I believe there was a second offense in the fall of last year”
WATCH: Reaction from Hoeflinger’s parents to indictment
The Hoeflingers say something needs to be done, and they’re hoping their advocacy will help change the law, making it impossible for minors to walk into liquor stores and buy alcohol, they say if nothing is learned from this tragedy then their son’s death was all in vain and that would be the biggest tragedy of all.
The family has dedicated a website in his memory and have made it their mission to educate others about the dangers of drunk-driving across northwest Ohio.