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Fate of Soggy Bottom is still undetermined

With a petition going around that is trying to keep the Soggy Bottom Tavern from getting its private club license, Soggy Bottom owner Jimmy Myrick attended the Covington County Commission’s public hearing on Tuesday to address some of the issues in the petition.

The bar closed in June 2018, after the death of Zadarios McCaskill, who was shot in the chest at the bar.

The petition states that the citizens are concerned for the safety and well being of their community.

“Since the bar originally opened there have been several problems in our neighborhood,” the petition states. “For example, people driving way above the speed limit on Caton Road, as well as County Road 21. There are children that live near the location of the tavern. Beer cans and bottles are thrown all over the road and in the ditches. Drunk drivers leave the road and running into the embankment just past the bridge on Caton Road or drive off of the bridge. A person that is drunk/high has gone inside and demanded to be let inside. People leave the bar and sitting in their vehicles in front of houses blaring music after midnight. People leave the bar with alcohol and hang out in the parking lot after the bar closes. People pull up to houses/barns at all hours of the night looking for the bar.”

The tavern applied for a private club license, which is slightly different from the lounge license they previously had.

“A private license gives you the option to stay open seven days a week,” Myrick said. “There really is no need to have that club open that much, but sometimes if you have an event like a car show or a poker run, then you can be open on Sundays. That doesn’t mean that I would be open every Sunday or open seven days a week, 24/7.”

Myrick was planning on applying for the license before the shooting happened and spent more than $100,000 on a new fire suppression system to be eligible for the license.

“About the time that we had everything ready to go, we had the shooting,” Myrick said. “There were shootings the next day, the next week and it was the same bunch. Wherever that boy was at that night, he was going to be shot. It really wasn’t anything directly related to the club. I never condoned any type of dope or drugs up there. We scanned everybody that came through the door for metal and weapons. We did everything we could to keep that out of there.”

The petition states that there were beer cans and bottles are thrown all over the roads and ditches, but Myrick said the bottles and cans do not come from the tavern.

“If they throw cans or something out of a car, they don’t leave the club with those cans,” Myrick said. “We have somebody at the door and they don’t leave there with it. If they have it in their car, then they have it in their car. I’m not privileged to say I’m going to go search their car or truck.”

For every other issue on the petition, Myrick said that none of it happens at the tavern.

Kevin Andrews, a resident in the community right next to the tavern, said the beer cans and bottles in the ditch are the least of the problems.

“The music sometimes goes on until 4 a.m.,” Andrews said. “Mr. Myrick said that the parking lot is cleared in 20 minutes after the bar is closed, but that is false. The bar sometimes didn’t close until the sun was coming up. I have been out there several times where people are sitting in the parking lot with their car doors open and alcohol and cigarettes in their hands. People come to my house in the middle of the night banging on my door, or go into my shop in the middle of the night banging on my door thinking they are at the bar. Various other people on our road have problems with people showing up in the middle of the night. On one occasion specifically, a man went to a home, lifted up his shirt and said, ‘Shoot me. I’m Superman,’ then he ran into the woods behind the man’s house. This is unneeded in the community.”

As far as security goes, Myrick said he already has a licensed security team in place if they are allowed to open again.

“They will be on the parking lot at all times,” Myrick said. “I did have a security team while we were open, but they weren’t a licensed security team. These guys will be able to carry badges and guns.”

There is still no arrest in the Soggy Bottom Tavern shooting incident.

The commission voted to go into a closed session to discuss the matter and no action was taken.