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N4T Investigators: Tucson veterans dies following alleged overserving at bar

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TUCSON (KVOA) - A Tucson family is mourning the loss of an Air Force veteran, who died after a night-out earlier this year.

His untimely death in the midst of the pandemic is not without controversy.

Ted Violette was just 57-years-old when he died back on June 10th.

In the wake of his passing, those who loved him want to know if more could have, and should have been done to prevent his death in the first place.    

“He was just a really peaceful man. He had done a lot in his life, in his career,” said Violette’s partner, Carol Martin.

After serving in the U.S. Air Force for 27 years and traveling around the world, Ted settled in Tucson in 2008.

Martin tells the News 4 Tucson Investigators, the night of June 4th Ted went out to drink at the Music Box Lounge, on East 22nd Street.

That was after Governor Ducey's extended stay-at-home order had expired, but prior to the statewide bar shut-down took effect at the end of June.

After having one too many at the Music Box, Ted began the walk home, but he never made it.

“As a result of him trying to get home safe, he fell and crushed the back of his head,” Martin told the News 4 Tucson Investigators.

Ted never recovered from his injuries and five days later, died at the hospital.

Martin tells the News 4 Tucson Investigators, she believes the bartender should have done more for Ted, rather than allowing him to walk in his condition.

“She should have called a cab, or an Uber; sat him down with some coffee, or you know, just saw to it that he got home,” Martin told the News 4 Tucson Investigators.

Tucson Police investigated, and ultimately, the bartender was cited for selling or serving liquor to an intoxicated person.

News 4 Tucson wanted to get her side of the story. We caught up with her outside Tucson City Court, but neither she nor the bar owner, who was also outside court, wanted to talk to us.

The Music Box was one of two Tucson bars who joined others in the state to take Governor Ducey to court over his executive order closing most bars in late June.

They argued that Ducey did not have the constitutional authority to shut them down over coronavirus.

Martin says she just wants bars to do the right thing.

“They shouldn't have the right to continue business if they're not going to do it in a safe fashion for our community,” Martin told the News 4 Tucson Investigators.

Martin tells the News 4 Tucson Investigators, while the loss of her partner has been almost too much to bear, he lives on as an organ donor.

“It would have meant a great deal for Ted to know that you know, he went on to do some more good. He was quite a hero.” Martin said.

The bartender will be in court for another hearing next month.  

Paul Birmingham

Paul Birmingham is an Investigative Producer for KVOA News 4 Tucson. He is a three time Edward R. Murrow award winner, native Tucsonan, and a proud Arizona Wildcat.

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