Three Pullman-area stores were caught selling alcohol to minors during a recent compliance check by the Washington State Liquor Control Board the same weekend an underage WSU student drank himself to death.
The liquor control board ran a check on 13 different businesses to see if they would sell alcohol to minors. Two of the businesses -- Don's Midway Grocery at 640 NE Maiden Lane and Jin’s Mart at 500 Grand Ave S. -- sold beer or wine to a minor.
A third -- Dissmore’s IGA at 1205 Grand Ave. -- sold liquor to a minor.
The compliance check was the same weekend that 18-year-old Kenny Hummel drank himself to death. An autopsy showed Hummel's blood alcohol level was at least five times the legal limit when he stopped breathing.
This was the third time that Dissmore's was caught selling alcohol to minors in the past two years. In the most recent case, liquor control agents used an underage student to make a purchase October 26.
During each compliance check, the liquor control board used an investigative aide between the ages of 18 and 20 who would attempt to buy alcohol. The aide would either present their real ID or none at all if they were asked to present their identification by a store employee.
Because hard liquor was involved, Dissmore's faces a 30 to 60 day license suspension for selling liquor.
While the liquor control board runs periodic compliance checks, the Pullman Police Department does checks of local stores as well.
"Yes I want a hundred percent compliance because I don't want anybody getting alcohol who is underage and that's one avenue we can address. The other avenue is through education and awareness," Commander Chris Tennant of the Pullman Police Department said.
At a time when students are showing up at Pullman Regional Hospital with higher blood alcohol levels higher than ever before, doctors and university officials are growing increasingly concerned about a potential connection to privatized liquor sales.