Couple charged in teen drinking

State investigators say the couple knew of the underage drinking that preceded a fatal crash.

Published July 26, 2007

VALRICO - The State Attorney's Office has charged two adults with misdemeanors, saying they hosted a house party where teenagers consumed alcohol before a deadly car crash last year.

But that did little to calm the rage of Denise Clark, whose 17-year-old son Tyler was killed in the crash.

"Somebody that leaves their dog in the car gets a worse punishment than what they're going to get," she said. "I'm going to start doing my research and see what I can do about trying to get these laws changed. I'm just infuriated."

Tara McEntarffer, 42, and her boyfriend, Lamar Justice, 42, are charged with hosting an "open house party" at her home in Valrico If they are convicted, they could get up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi said.

McEntarffer and Justice could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The charges come several weeks after a state investigation concluded the couple was home at the time of the October party and knew of the underage drinking.

After attending the party, Tyler and a group of teens climbed into his Jeep, according to investigators with the state's Identifying Contributors to Alcohol Related Events program.

The vehicle spun out of control and crashed, killing Clark and injuring seven other teens.

An autopsy concluded Tyler was driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.10. State law presumes a driver is impaired at a level 0.08 and above. Because he was under 21, Tyler was not legally allowed to have any alcohol.

According to the state investigation, McEntarffer has a teen son who was friends with the kids in the Jeep.

Not anymore, said Anthony Terlizzi, 44, whose son Christopher was injured in the crash.

"There's a lot of tension between everybody. You've got a kid that's dead. You've got people that have 2-foot-long scars on their body forever," he said. "If they did what they're accused of doing, they should pay, and they should pay dearly."

Clark, 43, said if the case against McEntarffer and Justice goes to trial, she'll be there in court.

"I want her McEntarffer to see me. I want her to see the pain," Clark said. "She gets to wake up and see her son. I get to wake up and see the box on the dresser where my son's ashes are."

Times staff writers Colleen Jenkins contributed to this report. Catherine E. Shoichet can be reached at cshoichet@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2454.