A gas station clerk repeatedly sold alcohol to two teenage boys, selling to them roughly two dozen times since August, according to court documents.
In October, those boys provided the alcohol that contributed to the death of George Gervase, a 17-year-old Elkhorn High School student.
Kevin Hart, 29, was ordered held on $100,000 bail Wednesday. He will stand trial on one count of procuring alcohol for a minor resulting in death. He faces a maximum of three years in prison if convicted.
Omaha police have said that Hart, who was a Kwik Shop clerk at 156th and Blondo Streets, bypassed the identification system to sell alcohol and electronic cigarettes to two teenage boys on Oct. 11. Hart did not check the boys’ IDs and instead pressed an “instant” button that immediately allowed the sale to process.
Those boys, ages 17 and 16, then sold the alcohol to Gervase, who had placed an order through Snapchat for Four Loko Gold and Captain Morgan, according to court documents.
Gervase fatally crashed the 2005 Nissan Altima he was driving on Oct. 12 near 192nd and Pacific Streets. His blood-alcohol level was .217, police said. Officers found an empty can of Four Loko Gold on the front passenger side floorboard, according to court documents.
The two teen boys face a procuring alcohol charge in juvenile court, said Brenda Beadle, chief deputy Douglas County attorney.
Officers found text messages between the teens and Hart.
“So can we come in and buy alc?” one teen texted Hart.
“Yep, just got in,” Hart responded.
Hart told police in October that he sold alcohol to the teens, who he knew were underage.
Assistant public defender Cathy Saathoff said in court Wednesday that Hart turned himself in when he learned that an arrest warrant had been issued. Hart has a 5-year-old son and served in the U.S. Army for four years, Saathoff said.
Hart’s parents and girlfriend attended the hearing and said afterward that Hart made a mistake. Keith Hart said his son didn’t do it to make money or to impress people, but that he might have sold the alcohol to the teens because “he was young once.”
Keith Hart extended apologies to Gervase’s family.
“My son had no intention of that. We didn’t bring him up this way, and he knows that,” Hart said. “He’s going to regret it for the rest of his life.”