An Amado woman who killed three members of a Tucson family in a wrong-way crash in May had been drinking at three bars earlier in the evening, and the Arizona Department of Liquor is considering legal action against two of them.
A detective with the Department of Liquor found evidence that Tambra Hoskins, 52, consumed alcohol while on duty as a bartender at American Legion Madera Post 131 and also left the premises with alcohol, according to documents obtained by the Green Valley News/Sahuarita Sun. The detective also found the 19th Hole Bar & Grille allowed an intoxicated person to remain on premises; failed to protect the safety of patrons; and served an intoxicated person. In each instance, the detective was referring to Hoskins.
The case now goes to the department's compliance division for potential sanctions that could include a warning, fines or license revocation.
Jeffery Trillo, assistant director of the licensing and administration division of the Department of Liquor, said the compliance division will meet with representatives of the bars to try to "amicably resolve" the matter. If the parties cannot come to terms or the bars challenge the allegations, the matters will go to hearings before an administrative law judge. He said his department is not recommending criminal charges.
An evening of drinking
On May 5, Hoskins was traveling southbound on I-19 in the northbound lanes when she struck Edith Munoz's vehicle head-on around 12:45 a.m just south of Continental Road, according to DPS.
Hoskins and Munoz, 41, died at the scene along with Munoz's sons, Mario A. Gradillas, 24, and Saul E. Gradillas, 19. A 14-year-old son, Angel Gradillas, was ejected from the vehicle and survived with severe injuries.
According to a toxicology report released by the Pima County Office of Medical Examiner, Hoskins' blood alcohol level was 0.318. A blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 can result in a DUI charge in Arizona; extreme DUI is 0.15.
Department of Liquor detective Arturo Zacarias submitted three reports after interviewing witnesses at American Legion Post 131, Easy Street Lounge — which is housed at Arizona Family Restaurant — and the 19th Hole Bar & Grille. He also obtained surveillance footage and receipts from the bars.
According to the reports, Hoskins, who had been a bartender at the Legion for about a year, worked the 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. shift. Witnesses and surveillance footage show she drank an unknown substance from a personal container throughout the day. At 3:41 p.m., she was seen "sipping/drinking" from a customer's mixed drink, and at 8:04 p.m., about 15 minutes before leaving for the night, she emptied her cup and poured alcohol from two bottles into it. Five minutes later, Hoskins drank a Fireball cinnamon whiskey shot and left with her boyfriend, Michael D. Jackson, who had been drinking a Bloody Mary at the bar.
The couple left the Legion Post at 8:22 p.m. and Jackson drove them across the street to Easy Street Lounge, where they continued to drink. Hoskins had three Fireball shots and two Vodka Tonics, according to the reports.
Witnesses described Hoskins as being "upbeat" and "very happy," and saw no signs she was inebriated, according to the report. The couple left East Street at 10:14 p.m., drove back to the Legion and walked across the parking lot to the 19th Hole, which is housed in the Best Western hotel. All three bars are in close proximity, on Esperanza Boulevard between I-19 and La Canada Drive.
For just over an hour at the 19th Hole, Hoskins and Jackson continued to drink. According to reports, Hoskins had another Vodka Tonic and Fireball shot. A manager said she had a little "buzz" on when she arrived. A bartender said he noticed Hoskins slurring her words about 15 minutes after she arrived, and by the end of the evening described her as "inebriated."
The bartender said Hoskins was told he wouldn't be serving her any more drinks but said he did not pull the drinks she had. He also said he asked Hoskins if she'd be driving and Jackson said he'd take care of her. The bartender left the bar at 12:30 a.m. and saw the couple in the parking lot.
When a DPS trooper first spoke with Jackson, he asked if Hoskins had too much to drink that evening. According to the report, Jackson responded, “Do I really l have to talk about this?” Later, Jackson said the 19th Hole mixes "very strong drinks" and he thinks the last drink Hoskins had "put her over the edge."
Jackson told Zacarias that as they left the bar, "he and Hoskins tried to hold hands, but they could not walk straight and that Hoskins had a hard time walking," according to the report.
Jackson said they were both drunk and he recommended she drive to her mom’s house a short distance away, but she said her mom didn’t like to be woken up, according to the report. When he offered to drive her to his house or her house, she declined, Jackson said. “She informed him that she drives home in this condition all the time,” according to the report. “Jackson told me that Hoskins appeared to be getting upset at him, so he asked her to call him when she arrived at her house.”
Jackson said he saw Hoskins leave the parking lot and get onto the interstate. "He also told me that he thought he had seen Hoskins entering the interstate using the correct on ramp, but did not realize that she hadn't," according to Zacarias.
The crash happened within the next few minutes.
According to an Arizona Department of Public Safety report, John Shin, an 18-year veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol, was traveling north on I-19 when a car in front of him traveling the same direction abruptly came into his lane and braked hard. That's when he saw a single headlight coming in his direction in the northbound lanes and it passed him at 80 to 90 mph. Shin told a DPS trooper he saw the impact in his rearview mirror one to two seconds later as Hoskins' vehicle collided with the Munoz vehicle.
Earlier reports indicated Hoskins was from Green Valley, but according to the DPS report she lived in Amado but her mother's Green Valley address was listed on her driver's license. The crash took place three miles from the American Legion Post, but it isn't clear where Hoskins entered the interstate.
Greg Hansen, owner of the 19th Hole Bar & Grille, told the Green Valley News on Thursday that he could not comment until he saw the report. Hansen also owns Twist & Shout 50's Diner in Sahuarita and the Longhorn Grill and Saloon in Amado.
Gary Kissinger, a judge advocate for the Legion, also declined to comment.
"The long and the short of it is this is an ongoing investigation and we can’t comment on it. There’s already inaccurate information on it being broadcast... over which we really have no control and anyway, we can’t comment or give you any information," he said.