TORRINGTON — A business owner is accused of hosting a party with alcohol hours before a teen was killed in a drunken driving crash.
Austen Weir, 34, of New Hartford, was arrested Thursday in connection with the September 2018 crash that killed 19-year-old Jacob Gasper, of Torrington, according to police. Weir tried to hide evidence from the party that Gasper got drunk at, police said.
Weir is the owner of AW Automotive, where police said Gasper was drinking at a gathering on Sept. 14. The next morning, Gasper lost control of his motorcycle on Kennedy Drive and crashed into a tree. The toxicology report showed he was drunk, police said.
Police found Gasper’s bike off the road and in the woods around 11:45 a.m. Sept. 15. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Gasper graduated from Oliver Wolcott Technical High School and was an apprentice with his family’s business, J. Gasper Heating & Air Conditioning in Torrington, according to his obituary.
“Jacob was an avid golfer, hunter and fisherman,” the obituary said. “He was a talented mechanic, and was loved by all that knew him.”
During a search of Weir’s garage, Torrington police found the business owner had damaged the recording device for the surveillance video in his office and hidden the device within blankets in his storage room.
Weir was charged with tampering with evidence and permitting a minor to possess liquor (social hosting). He was held on a $10,000 bond.
He is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 19.