Cairns held to answer, returned to graybar inn

By From page A1 | March 24, 2011

Kevin Cairns, the owner of fine dining establishment Dante’s on the River, was held to answer Wednesday afternoon in an El Dorado County courtroom for his roles in three different altercations with carsick motorists in his restaurant’s parking lot.

Cairns, 50, was remanded into custody earlier this month in lieu of $250,000 bail. Deputy district attorney Dale Gomes initially asked the court to set Cairns’ bail at $500,000, saying the restaurateur risked hurting himself or others with his aggressive behavior.

On Wednesday, he was held to answer for two felony assault counts and one felony vandalism count, said Steve Tapson, Cairns’ attorney.

Wednesday’s hearing featured testimony from several witnesses, including the San Jose driver who, on March 11, pulled into the Dante’s parking lot when his young child became carsick.

Prosecutors say the driver attempted to get napkins from Cairns’ restaurant but was denied. Upon returning to the car, the driver was allegedly threatened by Cairns, who reportedly called him a “black pig.”

Witnesses also testified about the February incident in which Cairns allegedly threw a parking cone at a carsick driver, hitting her in the arm.

Cairns is set to return to court April 1.

Thursday morning, Cairns’ attorney told the Mountain Democrat he would be filing a motion to reduce his client’s bail amount in the coming weeks.

Cairns has long maintained his innocence. He previously told the Democrat that he faces continuous trespassing from Highway 50 drivers who use his parking lot as their personal restroom.

In 2006, Cairns was acquitted of a misdemeanor assault charge after allegedly using a stun gun to attack a Georgetown man.

Tapson echoed his client’s sentiments Thursday.

“All these people stopped to vomit,” he said. “(The Cairnses) are tired of being used as a vomitorium. If (motorists) didn’t stop, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Following the hearing Cairns was returned to the county jail.

E-mail Jim Ratajczak at [email protected] or call 530-344-5069.

Jim Ratajczak

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