NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Anyone convicted of Operating Under the Influence in Massachusetts is asked to identify the establishment where they were drinking before their violation, and the city of Northampton is close to Boston for bars being named as the place of last drink.
“It was just totally off my radar, I didn’t think it was a problem. I don’t think of Northampton as a big drinking town,” said Rebecca Landes of Northampton.
In 2015, as many as 57 people charged with OUI named Northampton bars as their place of last drink, but Robert McGovern Jr., the owner of Packards, told 22News he questions the information people provide the courts.
“Most people who get stopped aren’t going to say they were at their favorite bar, they’re going to say they were at the place that shut them off and didn’t let them in; so a lot of the police and the judges and the courts don’t put a lot of weight in where you have your last drink,” said McGovern.
Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission data helps identify bars that pose a greater risk to public safety. McGovern said he’s received about 20 “place of last drink notices” over the last five years, but said he only knows of one actual violation for over-serving.
Northampton’s high rate concerns Alfred Kimani of Northampton; “I’m a jogger. Sometimes I might be crossing the street and sometimes students, or somebody who’s inebriated might not see me, so for pedestrians like me it’s somewhat of a worry.”
The ABCC shares the information with the Attorney General and the District Attorney’s Offices.
Northampton Police declined to comment on this story.