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Ohio Bartender Fired After Calling Police on Drunken Driver

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SHELBY, Ohio) -- A bartender in Shelby, Ohio, claims she was fired over what local police say was the right thing to do.

Twyla DeVito had been a bartender at the American Legion Post in Shelby for almost a year when she called and reported to police that a regular bar patron and a board member of the American Legion had gotten into his car after appearing drunk and drove away.

“There was no cab, I couldn’t give him a ride home and I was working,” she said.

So she called police, who found the patron driving with a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, according to Shelby Police Chief Charles Roub.

The patron was issued a citation for operating a vehicle under the influence, according to a police report.

Two days later, DeVito received a call from her commander telling her she was fired.

“He called me and said that I was bad for business,” she said. “[He said], ‘This is nothing personal, this is all business, but I am going to have to fire you.’”

“My commander said I didn’t follow protocol, but there was no protocol,” she added.

An attempt to reach the American Legion Post in Shelby, Ohio, for comment by telephone was unsuccessful.

According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, there is not a law that requires a bartender to report a drunk driver.

“I support what she did,” said Roub. “We encourage people to report crimes, we encourage people to report drunk driving and, as a police officer, that helps me do my job.”

DeVito said she does not regret calling police.

“If he had gotten in a wreck that would have been on me, because I was on my shift,” said DeVito. “It was in a lose-lose situation. I choose to possibly save a life.”

“I just want people to understand [that] bartenders are in a catch [22],” DeVito said. “I can cut you off but you are still getting in your car and you’re still drunk. The whole point is being missed. You are still in a car drunk and driving.”

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