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Investigation into whether Riley Strain was overserved alcohol in Nashville continues

By Daniel Smithson

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    NASHVILLE (WSMV) — Five weeks after Riley Strain went missing in downtown Nashville, an investigation continues into whether the University of Missouri college student was overserved alcohol by Broadway bars.

WSMV4 reached out to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) on April 12, three weeks after the 22-year-old’s body was found in the Cumberland River, to check on the TABC’s progress in its investigation.

“No updates yet,” TABC Communications Director Aaron Rummage wrote in an email. “Still investigating.”

The TABC told WSMV4 on March 13 that an investigation had been launched after questions were asked about whether the bar had any legal obligations to protect patrons who were overly intoxicated. Strain was seen on surveillance video wandering around downtown Nashville after he was kicked out of Luke’s 32 Bridge on March 8.

“There are no specific rules or statutes that governs escorting out intoxicated patrons from their businesses or providing assistance in getting someone home,” Rummage wrote in a statement. “However, state law prohibits serving alcoholic beverages to someone who is visibly intoxicated. A violation is a class A misdemeanor. The TABC has opened an investigation into this matter to see if any violations have occurred.”

On March 19, the TABC provided an update on its investigation, saying it has worked with law enforcement to determine where Strain was served alcohol the night he went missing.

“All licensed establishments questioned have been cooperative,” Rummage said, adding a final report will be made public once the investigation has been closed.

Luke’s 32 Bridge and its ownership group claim Strain was only served one alcoholic beverage before he was kicked out of the bar.

“During Riley’s visit to Luke’s 32 Bridge, our records show he purchased and was served one alcoholic drink and two waters,” TC Restaurant Group and Luke’s 32 Bridge said in a statement. “At 9:35 p.m., our security team made a decision based on our conduct standards to escort him from the venue through our Broadway exit at the front of our building. He was followed down the stairs with one member of his party. The individual with Riley did not exit and returned upstairs.”

The Metro Nashville Police Department confirmed Thursday that the investigation into Strain’s death remains ongoing. Officials have said a preliminary autopsy report makes Strain’s death “appear accidental.”

WSMV4 will continue to check back and provide updates when the TABC report is available.

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