NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio--A bartender faces a criminal charge, accused of serving alcohol to an intoxicated woman who later died in a car crash. The bartender says he did nothing wrong.
"I've been doing this job for fifteen plus years and I do take it seriously. This is a local bar that we do look out for people," said bartender, Michael Carter, 39.
Carter is a bartender at JNG Grill on Front Avenue, SW in New Philadelphia. Thursday, he was charged with selling and/or furnishing beer to an intoxicated person. It's a charge he vows to fight.
"I don't feel that in any way, myself or the bar did anything wrong and I am represented and I will be fighting the charge," Carter said.
"Our investigation substantiated the charges that we filed in court," said George Pitre, Agent in Charge with the Ohio Investigative Unit.
Investigators say the charge relates to a fatal alcohol-related crash back on January 20. They say 38-year-old Amanda Milburn was killed in a single car crash on US Route 250 near New Philadelphia. Agents with the Ohio Investigative Unit, who enforce state liquor laws, say they learned Milburn had been drinking at the JNG Grill.
"In Ohio, it's against the law to serve alcohol, whether sale or furnish alcohol to anyone that's intoxicated and it's on the employees, the servers to be able to detect that. There's training out there that's available to assist in that," said Pitre.
Agents say in February, administrative charges were filed against the bar, relating to the incident. The bar can remain open while that case is being reviewed.
"When we do our investigations, seeing evidence to support that may come from witness statements, statements of actual suspects, it could be video surveillance; any number of things that we could use to find out the facts of what happened," Pitre said.
"I was surprised to get it and like I said, we feel bad about it, but I look out for people all the time; it's surprising that it happened," said Carter.
Carter is scheduled to appear in New Philadelphia Municipal Court on May 25. If convicted, he could face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
The case against the bar will be handled by the Ohio Liquor Control Commission in Columbus. Possible penalties in that case include fines, suspensions or revoking the bar's liquor permit.