Crime

Police: Drunk Mother Let 8-Year-Old Steer Car (Photo)

| by Michael Howard

A Wisconsin woman arrested for driving while intoxicated was allegedly letting her 8-year-old son steer the car.

Carrie Bernard, 37, was stopped by Milwaukee County Sheriff's Deputy Whitney Hendon around 2:30 p.m. on May 4 after Hendon noticed that Bernard was driving erratically.

"The motions were jerky like she was turning but looking at something else," Hendon told WISN. "It wasn't something a typical driver would do."

As Hendon pulled up next to Bernard's SUV, she saw that a child was sitting on Bernard's lap. He was reportedly steering the vehicle while Bernard operated the gas pedal. They were not wearing a seatbelt.

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When Hendon walked up the SUV she found that the child had been moved to the passenger's seat and was now wearing a seatbelt. A dog was seated in the backseat as well.

Bernard denied any wrongdoing and refused to cooperate.

"She stated there was no one who operated the car other than her," Hendon recalled. "That's when the small child began to cry. He said, 'I don't want to go to jail.'"

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When a second officer arrived on the scene, Bernard was given a sobriety test, which she failed.

Hendon said she was disturbed by the mother's reckless behavior.

"It was concerning to me [that] the mom would risk her 8-year-old child so she could operate a vehicle," Hendon said. "You're risking your child and the public. It's scary to think about."

Bernard was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence with a minor under 16 years of age in the vehicle. Patch reports that she had been arrested for impaired driving twice before.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office is recommending the following charges to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office: second-degree reckless endangering safety, operating a vehicle after revocation of license, and ignition interlock device violation.

Ignition interlock devices are breathalyzers installed on individual vehicles to prevent drunk-driving incidents, according to LifeSaver. In order to start the vehicle the driver must provide a breath sample. If the driver fails the test, the car will not start.

Bernard's child was delivered into the custody of Child Protective Services following her arrest.

Sources: WISN, Patch, LifeSaver / Photo credit: James Palinsad/Flickr, Milwaukee County Jail via Daily Mail

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