Shores of Erie Wine Festival fined, Bernauer family calls for police chief to resign
Sentencing was handed down against the Shores of Erie International Wine Festival after the board was found guilty of two counts under the liquor license act.
Board members were ordered to pay a fine of $65,625 at a Windsor courtroom Monday. They will have six months to pay.
The festival was found guilty of allowing a minor to consume alcohol and failing to inspect identification on Sept. 11 by Justice of the Peace Mike Hurst.
Emily Bernauer, 18, died in a car crash after working in a food tent at the event on Sept. 6, 2014. Toxicology reports confirmed there was alcohol in her system at the time of the crash.
The festival was fined $30,000 for count one, $22,500 for count two and $13,125 for the victim surcharge.
“I just never expected that the Shores of Erie would go out this way,” said Karen Gyorgy, the chair of the board. “Yes it is an emotional time… Yes it is.”
Gyorgy says the festival will not happen again – at least under the watch of her volunteer board.
Amherstburg police also released a report that said Bernauer was texting a driving and also under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident, information the Bernauer family has disputed since 2014.
Chris Bernauer thanked crown attorney Scott Kerwin as he spoke with media after Justice Hurst’s ruling.
“This whole journey has been all about finding the truth,” said Bernauer. “It’s been a long, long journey.”
Bernauer said the family has been quiet all along, but says the marijuana and texting allegations made against Emily by Amherstburg police are false, and akin to victim bashing. He’s calling for the resignation of long-time Amherstburg police chief Tim Berthiaume.
"We're going to talk to the mayor right after this because there's enough evidence to act with the council and then we want him to resign,” Bernauer said. “We want to remove him from the position. There’s a lot of good police officers in Amherstburg, and I think they need to put someone in there that can do the job properly."