Long Beach bar owners say they are unfairly targeted after companies were accused of overlooking a man involved in fatal hit-and-runs

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) — Owners of a Long Beach bar claim they were unfairly targeted after local politicians and police officers accused the store of monitoring a man suspected of crashing into a house and killing a father and his young daughter.

Co-owners Suzanne Blevins and Marlow Stanford say they just want to clear their names of any wrongdoing. Her business, the Bottoms Up Tavern, had had its liquor license suspended indefinitely and the bar is now closed.

Octavio Islas, 24, is accused of driving his truck into the home of Jose Palacios Gonzalez, killing him and his 3-year-old daughter Samantha Palacios.

“By closing this bar, we are preventing another mother, wife, son and brother from suffering tragedy,” said Esnelia Palacios, who lost her husband and daughter in the crash in March.

The owners say they haven’t overserved Islas.

“We didn’t overwhelm the customer. His brother gave him cocaine before he got in his vehicle,” Stanford said. “We’re basically here to clear our name. We have no dog in this fight.”

California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control says some bar employees also sold narcotics.

“Our investigation also included an undercover operation in which ABC agents bought cocaine, ecstasy and oxycodone from bar employees on multiple dates,” said Armando Gonzalez of Alcohol Beverage Control.

Stanford responded to Gonzalez’s testimony by saying the charges involved a security guard who worked there for two months.

The police are still looking for Islas.

“His indictment includes two counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count of drink driving and one count of hit-and-run,” the Long Beach police chief said. Said Megan Zabel. “Mr. Islas remains excellent despite our efforts to locate him.”

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https://abc7.com/long-beach-fatal-hit-and-run-bottoms-up-tavern-co-owners-suzanne-blevins-marlow-stanford/12120998/ Long Beach bar owners say they are unfairly targeted after companies were accused of overlooking a man involved in fatal hit-and-runs

Laura Coffey

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