Mohawk Tavern to close early after police say bar overserved man who died in motorcycle crash

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NORTH ADAMS — A local bar is operating with reduced hours after it was found to have served the last drink to a motorcyclist who died in a fatal collision in July.

The Mohawk Tavern must close by 11 p.m. after it allegedly overserved Steven Fortier, 49, a North Adams man who was killed July 20 in a head-on collision on Church Street.

The accident remains under investigation by the Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis Reconstruction Section, but North Adams Police Director Michael Cozzaglio and the city License Commission have taken action.

North Adams police learned that Fortier was last seen drinking at the Mohawk Tavern and was “falling down” as he left the bar, according to a report submitted to the License Commission by Sgt. Albert Zoito.

Fortier's death was the latest in a string of events tied to the bar that police took note of within a month — including two operating under the influence arrests and another person outside the bar "falling-down drunk," according to Cozzaglio.

"In this particular instance, the Mohawk needed to be brought before our local licensing board, and this problem needed to be addressed," Cozzaglio said.

The License Commission ordered in August that The Mohawk Tavern will close every night by 11 p.m. until Nov. 30.

Under its license, the Mohawk was allowed to remain open until 1 a.m.

The Police Department compiles reports and brings them before the License Commission when it begins to notice a pattern, Cozzaglio said.

Shortly after 2 a.m. on June 29, police responded to an accident on Union Street and learned that the female driver had been headed home — the wrong way — after drinking at the Mohawk. The woman was arrested and, once at the station, showed a blood alcohol level of 0.20 percent, more than twice the legal limit.

The woman told police that she had drank five glasses of wine at home and then four at the Mohawk Tavern.

Shortly before 2 a.m. on July 7, police responded to an accident on Curran Memorial Highway. The driver told police that she was driving home to Clarksburg, which meant she was driving in the wrong direction. Her blood alcohol level was 0.198 percent, according to police.

On July 17, Zoito spoke to a man outside the bar who was “very unsteady on his feet” and “almost fell down twice” during the conversation. Zoito concluded that the man had been overserved.

On July 20, Fortier was driving southbound on Church Street shortly after 10 p.m. when his 2001 Harley Davidson motorcycle collided with a 2015 Audi Q5 traveling northbound.

Fortier died at the North Adams Campus of Berkshire Medical Center while awaiting an emergency helicopter.
Alexander "Sandy" Smith, who operates the Mohawk Tavern, could not be reached for comment.

Adam Shanks can be reached at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.


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