Putnam County DWI–Bar Owner Sentenced To 9 Months

Following up on our February 4, 2008 post “Fatal Putnam County DWI Crash Leads To Conviction Of Bar Owner”, on February 24th, Paddock Tavern owner Ray Knox Jr. was sentenced to 9 months in the Putnam County jail for his conviction of allowing his off-duty bar manager Sandra Longchamps to be served alcohol while visibly intoxicated.

This fatal Putnam County DWI case arose from an accident on Super Bowl Sunday 2007 in which Longchamps drove her Ford Explorer (after being served 12-14 drinks at the Paddock) on Route 22 head-on into a minivan operated by 34 year old Kirsten Henry, who was driving with her three children and husband in the car. Both women were killed in the car accident, but Ms. Henry’s three minor children ranging in age from 2 to 7 survived, as did her husband.

Knox’ attorney requested that Town Justice John King not sentence Paddock to jail time, pointing out that it is unusual for a bar owner with no record to get jail time in a DWI misdemeanor case. However, the families of the late Ms. Henry and her surviving husband submitted victim impact statements to the Court, and the special prosecutor had urged the court to sentence Mr. Knox to the maximum one year sentence. Knox’s attorney indicated that he would appeal the sentence, claiming that Knox did not serve Longchamps that evening or have direct interaction with her–essentially, a claim that Knox did not know Ms. Longchamps was intoxicated that fateful Sunday.

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