Mother, Drunk, Asks 8-Year-Old To Drive To The Liquor Store
In the mind of an intoxicated person behind the wheel of a vehicle hoping not to be pulled over, perhaps having a child take control is completely acceptable — better than trying to navigate while drunk, right? Although underage and probably under the required height to navigate the vehicle, the child is at least sober. Well, that is apparently what Milwaukee resident Carrie L. Bernard, 37, drunkenly thought when placing her eight-year-old son on her lap and asking him to steer their way to the liquor store for more booze. Luckily, they didn’t make it far. The mother was soon pulled over for the third time for drunk driving after a Milwaukee County sheriff’s deputy saw the car entering an on-ramp with a child seated on the driver’s lap.
Once in the back of the deputy’s cruiser, Bernard was caught on a camera mounted inside saying she planned to get to the store and back to the bottle as soon as he set her free. “I think I might have a drink after this,” Bernard said, according to video footage taken inside Deputy Whitney Hendon’s car. She apparently could not comprehend the seriousness of the situation, and saw nothing wrong with her actions. Moreover, she had obviously not learned from her first two offenses.
Hendon said neither Bernard nor her son was wearing a seat belt when he initially pulled alongside her SUV on their way to the store. After he was able to get the car to pull to the side of the road, the boy was in the front passenger seat wearing a seat belt with a dog sitting in the back seat. Bernard had apparently decided to bring her family out on a run.
“She stated there was no one who operated the car other than her,” Hendon said. But, Hendon knew better. He had seen the boy’s hands on the wheel. The deputy turned to the boy to verify his mother’s statement. “That’s when the small child began to cry,” he said, as if he didn’t want to rat his mother out. The boy sobbed, “I don’t want to go to jail.”
Bernard refused to cooperate with the deputy’s instructions as he attempted to get her to prove her sobriety through a series of tests. Only after his supervisor arrived did she reluctantly comply, and subsequently failed multiple field tests. So, the woman was handcuffed and charged with two felonies — driving under the influence with a minor under 16 years of age and second degree recklessly endangering safety. Bernard will also face misdemeanor charges of operating while intoxicated and violating the terms of her interlock ignition device attached to her vehicle. The boy was taken to the station along with his mother and ultimately turned over to child protective services.
“It was concerning to me the mom would risk her 8-year-old child so she could operate a vehicle,” Hendon rightfully said considering the circumstances. “You’re risking your child and the public. It’s scary to think about.” Whether the boy will be returned to Bernard is yet to be determined.