Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Man, 21, cited as teen's alcohol source



By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo]
Richard L. Lawson

WEST CHESTER TWP. - A 21-year-old man bought a bottle of Crown Royal whiskey, police say, and gave it to a teen who later crashed his car while intoxicated and died.

That man on Tuesday was charged with a misdemeanor count of providing alcohol to an underage person, in connection with the death of 18-year-old Dominic Broderick.

Another man, a 19-year-old motorist, was charged with driving recklessly on Beckett Road before his car and Broderick's collided.

But neither of the charged men directly contributed to Broderick's death, said Sgt. Barry Walker, traffic unit supervisor.

"He made a series of choices that ... eventually collapsed on him," Walker said, including failure to buckle his safety belt. "If he had worn his seat belt, he'd probably be here today, because all of the damage was on the (car's) passenger side."

Broderick was a top lacrosse player for Lakota West High School.

Before the crash, Broderick was among a dozen other young people who were partying at a motel Saturday night, police said.

When he died, his blood-alcohol level was 0.116. The legal limit for minors is 0.02, police said.

Richard L. Lawson, 21, of West Chester, faces a misdemeanor charge of buying alcohol for Broderick at O'Bryan's Liquor on Princeton-Glendale Road. Authorities believe the store had no idea Lawson was purchasing liquor for a minor, Walker said.

The charge against Lawson is a rare one, said Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper, because investigators often have difficulty proving when adults knowingly provide alcohol to minors.

The charge Lawson faces carries a potential six-month jail term and a $1,000 fine.

About seven hours after the liquor sale, Broderick left the party and headed home in his purple 1996 Saturn.

On Beckett Road just after midnight, a black 1992 Eagle Talon had passed him. Broderick tried to pass the Talon in a no-passing zone, police said. But the Talon turned left, the two vehicles collided and the Saturn hit a utility pole.

The Talon's driver, Patrick Edinger, 19, of West Chester, is accused of driving with disregard for safety.

"This has long-reaching effects," Walker said, from those who face charges to Broderick's schoolmates. There's also a female witness who keeps crying because she thinks she could have called police to warn them about the two cars jockeying for position, Walker said. But even if she had, police could not have arrived quickly enough to prevent the crash, he said.

E-mail jmorse@enquirer.com




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