FRAMINGHAM – In August 2015, a customer at Samba West drove down Route 9 and slammed into a Southborough Police cruiser. The driver of the vehicle was arrested and charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
Less than a year later, on April 30, 2016, an individual left Samba West and crashed into a Southborough Police cruiser, injuring an officer. Again, the driver of the vehicle was arrested and charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
Tuesday night, Feb. 7, after four public hearings, Framingham Selectmen voted unanimously to suspend the alcohol license for the Route 9 restaurant.
Samba West, which already lost its alcohol license for 3 days in April 2016 for the August 2015 incident, will now lose its alcohol license for 17 days.
Attorney Katherine Garrahan of Bowditch & Dewey, who represented owner Risheng Xu, also known as Joseph Zhang last night, said the specific days the restaurant will be without alcohol has yet to be decided.
Garrahan told Selectmen the owner was “sorrowful” and he is determined to restore the reputation of his restaurant.
Zhang told Selectmen he is committed to a “family-friendly” atmosphere at the restaurant.
Under the agreement, the restaurant agreed to close at 12 a.m. and to not host live bands or disc jockey entertainment.
He is “committed to demonstrate to you that the safety of the restaurant, patrons and the community is paramount to Samba West,” said Garrahan to Selectmen.
According to the police investigation, on May 5, 2016, Southborough detective Sean McCarthy contacted Framingham Police to report that one of its Southborough officers was injured in a crash involving a driver who was arrested for operating while under the influence of alcohol, and had been drinking at Samba West.
The Southborough detective told Lt. Harry Wareham of the Framingham Police that the owner of Samba West was not cooperating with the investigation.
Lt. Wareham in his report, said he spoke to the owner and manager of the restaurant later that same day.
The owner told Lt. Wareham the operator of the vehicle that crashed into the cruiser had been in Samba West for six hours but had only had two drinks.
Framingham Police requested copy of the restaurant’s video tape and the owner/manager refused.
According to Wareham’s report the owner/manager “felt it would be used against him” and “he had to protect himself and his business.”
Five days later on May 10, Framingham Police with a search warrant went to Samba West to get a copy of the videotape and any receipts from the man arrested by Southborough Police, according to Lt. Wareham’s report.
The owner told police the video player was no longer at the restaurant. He said it “burnt.”
According to Lt. Wareham’s report, a Southborough Police Lt and a trained arson investigator checked the restaurant. “There were no signs of a fire,” wrote Lt. Wareham in his report to Selectmen.
Also in that report, Lt. Wareham wrote that Southborough Police said there is probably cause to charge the owner with “obstruction of justice, interfering with a police investigation, and destruction of evidence.”