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Kaplan Mayor Wants Bars To Close At 2am

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A tragic accident could be the catalyst to change bar hours in Vermilion Parish.  The one vehicle accident claimed the life 23 year old Pete Johnson who was a passenger in a vehicle driven by 23 year old Kade Abshire. The Mayor of Kaplan,Kirk Champagne, a friend of both Abshire and Johnson’s families thinks the late closing hours of some bars in Vermilion Parish may have played a major part in the tragedy.

In the city of Kaplan and other municipalities in the parish bars are required to close and stop serving alcohol at 2am , however at least 5 other bars in Vermilion Parish don’t close their doors until 4am. The law states that bars not in a municipality may stay open until the later hour.

Mayor Champagne believes that if all bars in the parish were required to close at 2am these two young men might still be alive. According to reports both Abshire and Johnson had left a Kaplan bar at the 2 am closing time and stopped over at a friends house. According to the friend the two had plans to continue on to one of the bars that stayed open until 4am. They never made it.Mayor Champagne believes that if there were no bars open until 4am the two men might have just stayed at the friends house.

Bar owners in the parish that stay open until 4am say the change in closing time will affect their business. In fact one bar owner believes that the change in closing time won’t make too much of a difference in diminishing the number of drunk drivers on the roads.

The Vermilion Parish police jury is expected to discuss a proposed ordinance on making all bar closing times 2am withing the parish. Mayor Champagne says he plans to attend the meeting to support the ordinance not as the Mayor of Kaplan but as a concerned citizen of Vermilion Parish. He has been promoting the issue via Facebook and says the response has been 95% positive.

What do you think on this issue? Do you think closing the bars two hours earlier will significantly decrease the amount of impaired drivers on the road?

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