ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – An Arlington convenience store clerk has been released from jail after being accused of selling alcohol to a minor. According to police, that teenager was later involved in a car crash that killed a 14-year-old girl over the weekend.
Police have accused Phuyal Satish of selling the controversial drink Four Loko – a potent mix of alcohol and caffeine – to a minor. Investigators said that the minor then climbed into a vehicle with two other underage friends including a 14-year-old driver. The vehicle later crashed into a guardrail near Denton early Sunday morning.
One of the underage passengers, 14-year-old Valerie Rodriguez of Arlington, was ejected from the vehicle during that crash. She died instantly. Investigators said that Rodriguez was the driver’s girlfriend. They, along with another 16-year-old boy, were running away to Oklahoma. The driver was detained on a juvenile charge of intoxication manslaughter. Police said that they found beer and Four Loko at the crash site.
On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration enacted a virtual ban on such alcoholic energy drinks, including Four Loko, by warning four manufacturers that they are unsafe. This comes after five states had already banned the drinks.
A 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko contains the equivalent of four beers, a Red Bull energy drink and a shot of espresso. And it costs less than $3 at local convenience stores. The issue with these drinks is the caffeine, which masks the effects of the alcohol. The FDA says that the drink produces “wide awake drunks.”
“The caffeine makes you more awake. The caffeine gives you more pep. The caffeine reverses some of the sedative’s effects of alcohol,” explained addiction specialist Dr. Petros Levounis. “It makes it much easier to have four times as much than you would have without the caffeine.”
Satish was arrested Wednesday on a misdemeanor charge of selling alcohol to a minor. According to Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission spokesman Charlie Cloud, the clerk originally refused to sell to the teen, but told him to return after dark. That is when he sold the drinks. Satish posted a $1500 bond early Thursday morning. There is no word yet on whether or not he will be returning to his job in Arlington.
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