AUSTIN, Texas – A Hill Country store clerk sold beer to an intoxicated 28-year-old man who crashed his vehicle into a group of motorcycle club members near Kerrville, killing four of them, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission officials said.
Ranelle Diane Welch, 37, of Center Point, turned herself in to Kerr County authorities Thursday, a news release said. Welch is charged with sale to certain person, which is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. She was later released on a $2,000 bond.
According to TABC officials, Welch was working at a Dollar General store in Center Point around noon on July 18 when she sold beer to Ivan Robles-Navejas, of Center Point. Investigators believe Robles-Navejas was already intoxicated when Welch sold him the alcohol.
Moments after Robles-Navejas left the store, his vehicle crossed the center line on Highway 16, hitting 11 motorcycles and killing three riders at the scene, Texas Department of Public Safety officials said. A fourth rider died of his injuries several days later. The Thin Blue Line Motorcycle Club is made up of active and veteran peace officers as well as supporters of law enforcement.
State law prohibits the sale of alcohol to any person who exhibits signs of intoxication at the time of sale.
“This is an extremely tragic case which may have been avoided if this individual was prevented from purchasing additional alcohol beverages prior to the crash,” TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. “TABC will hold accountable all businesses and employees who may have contributed to this case by illegally selling alcohol. We’re grateful for the support of the Department of Public Safety, whose investigators were instrumental in assisting TABC agents in identifying the source of the alcohol in this case.”