Special Report: TABC on Tap


This mangled white Honda Civic belonged to 24-year-old Ashley Hollyfield. 

The Texas Department of Public Safety says Hollyfield was driving the wrong way in the Eastbound lane of I-10 overnight August 3rd, 2011 when she hit a tractor trailer head on. 

Hollyfield died on scene. 

"She was bubbly, never met a stranger. Always smiling even on her worst days," Susan Willis said of her daughter's personality.

Hollyfield was a Lamar student majoring in Sociology. She left behind two small children.

"That was my first question. Did it have anything to do with alcohol?" Willis said.
Holly field's blood alcohol concentration was almost two and a half times over the legal limit. She was driving home from work as a shot girl at the Plantation Gentlemen's Club, formerly named Gold Club the night she died. 

Once TABC received word of Hollyfields death it sparked what the commission calls a source investigation into what happened. 

"We have to show what is the most likely scenario as to that would've happened," TABC Agent Nicole Walker said.

Walker was not allowed to comment on the investigation but in a full TABC report released to 12News, an interrogation of The Plantation states shot girls carry a tray of shots half of which have no alcohol for the girls to drink. 

According to a lawsuit filed by Hollyfields parents against the club, The Plantation encourages employees to drink to increase profits. 

"From our perspective it's total madness the law would have allowed this to happen," Holly field's father Duane Willis said. 

We tried contacting The Plantation for comment but have yet to hear back from the business. 

The Plantation admitted that Hollyfield had at least one cocktail mixed with one ounce of vodka. 

But witnesses, most of them fellow employees of Hollyfield told Agent Walker they saw Hollyfield openly taking up to four shots of hard liquor during her shift at The Plantation the night she died. 

One told Walker, Hollyfield was struggling to walk at one point.

"She should have never been allowed to leave that night," Susan Willis said of her daughter.

Across 2012 The Plantation wasn't the only business accused of  breaking the law. 

TABC cracked down on two businesses last year, they say Hooters and Star Bar on Crockett street served alcohol to an intoxicated person. 

Tequila Rok, Specs and Mercado de Familia were three of 13 business cited for selling or allowing a minor to drink alcohol. 

Penalties include fines or a suspension of alcohol sales. 

"Everything comes in waves. What we're trying to do is educate and get it out there so retailers can work with retailers. And so employees know what to do, when to cut off or not serve," Agent Walker said

Though none of those citations turned into the tragedy the Willis family has dealt with over the past year and a half...they say their story comes with a message. 

"Nothing I say will bring my daughter back but I don't want another family to go through this. I don't want her memory to die," Susan said.  

And they hope to keep her memory alive through the state capitol.

"We plan to present a proposal to state legislature that would, if not do away with the ability for employees to consume alcohol, at least place restrictions on them," Duane said. 

The Willis couple recently settled their lawsuit with the business but part of the settlement included not publicly disclosing the details of it. 

Their attorney told 12News the couple was happy with the settlement. Hollyfield's case was closed this year but The Plantation was cited in 2011.

For two citations related to Hollyfield's death the club was fined almost $27,000.



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