China Gourmet liquor license suspended for involvement in DUI crashes; Investigation into destruction of evidence

Last year, Southborough Police officers were rear-ended three times drivers who were (or alleged to be) intoxicated. In two of the three accidents, the drivers were served at Samba West in Framingham.

Southborough Police are accusing the restaurant of destroying evidence related to the second incident.

Southborough Wicked Local reports that China Gourmet (formerly Samba West) was given a 17 day liquor suspension by Framingham selectmen. The board issued a 15 day suspension for the second incident in addition to activating the two day suspension that was held in abeyance for the first incident.

Southborough Chief Kenneth Paulhus tells me that they are continuing to pursue charges of Destruction of Evidence and Obstructing a Criminal Investigation. The Middlesex County D.A.’s Office is in charge of the case.

SWL previously reported:

Paulhus said the owner refused to voluntarily provide surveillance footage recorded in the hours before the crash.

“I don’t think I’ve seen a more blatant case of just flat out obstruction and felony destruction of evidence in my time as a police officer,” he said.

A more recent article explained that a month after the accident:

a Southborough police detective went to Samba West to execute a search warrant for the video evidence. The officer was told the restaurant’s video player had been burned in an electrical fire

In addition to the suspension, the selectmen imposed conditions. SWL writes: 

The restaurant also agreed to retrain staff and curtail its evening entertainment, no longer hosting bands or disc jockeys and closing by 12 a.m.

The restaurant would also ensure a manager on duty is notified before a customer is served more than two alcoholic beverages or three beers. The restaurant also agreed to reimburse the town $300 for the investigation, and to serve light food at the bar until closing time.

I followed up with Chief Paulhus on the status of Officer Patrick Smith, victim of the April crash. He was home for four weeks recovering. He subsequently returned to work. In December, he left for a job with his hometown police department in Medford.

As for the status of the case against the alleged drunk driver, Paulhus tells me it is still active. The case has been continued by the courts multiple times.

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