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Archive for Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Police in Austin agree: 911 call to report underage drinking unusual

June 6, 2001

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— A restaurant staff didn't follow normal procedure when a 911 call was placed after President Bush's 19-year-old twin daughters were suspected of violating underage drinking laws, the owners said Tuesday.

The emergency call May 29 led to misdemeanor citations against Jenna and Barbara Bush on accusations they violated toughened underage drinking laws signed in 1997 by their father when he was governor.

"We believe that we made a mistake in calling the police in this matter and using 911 was a mistake. You don't use 911 except for in emergencies," Chuy's co-owner John Zapp said. He said the restaurant should have just refused to serve the alcohol.

Co-owner Mike Young told the Austin American-Statesman in Tuesday's edition that the manager who called police will remain employed with the company. "A packed res-taurant with high-profile celebrities there puts a lot of pressure on your management team," Young said.

Capt. David Ball of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said restaurant employees usually don't call police to report a suspected alcohol violation by a minor and rarely use 911.

"That's the decision they have to make," he said. "For your normal misrepresentation of age, it would be very unusual."

Rick Coy, assistant chief of the Austin Police Department, agreed. "We would hope someone would be cautious in calling that," Coy said. "Certainly it can be addressed by the police, it's not always necessary. Many times they can solve the problem by refusing to sell the alcohol to the individual."

Police cited Barbara Bush on a charge of being a minor in possession of alcohol, and Jenna for allegedly attempting to buy alcohol with false identification. A 20-year-old friend of the women also was cited on the possession charge.

Just two weeks earlier, Jenna Bush pleaded no contest to charges of underage drinking. She was ordered to take alcohol counseling and perform community service.

Young said the restaurant's owners have received "tons" of calls and e-mails about the incident. "There's always some complaints it doesn't matter what you do," said Young. But he said many supported how it was handled.

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