MILWAUKEE -- 37-year-old Carrie Bernard entered pleas and was sentenced on Friday, January 12th on charges of second degree recklessly endangering safety and OWI (3rd). Prosecutors say Bernard allowed her young son to steer her vehicle on Highway 145 last May.
Bernard pleaded guilty to both charges on Friday. On the OWI charge, the judge sentenced Bernard to 12 months in the House of Correction. As for the recklessly endangering safety charge, the judge sentenced Bernard to three years in prison and three years of extended supervision -- but then stayed that sentence. Instead, the judge sentenced Bernard to three-and-a-half years of probation.
According to a criminal complaint, around 2:30 p.m., a deputy observed a vehicle entering 145 at Fond du Lac Avenue at 107th Street which was "having difficulty negotiating the curve on the ramp." The deputy noted the vehicle was making "jerky motions" and at one point, it drove up onto the grass on the side of the ramp, before entering the freeway. Once on the freeway, the complaint says the vehicle "could not keep its lane of travel," and the deputy, once alongside the vehicle, noticed a small child sitting on Carrie Bernard's lap in the driver's seat.
The complaint states "the child had both of his hands on the steering wheel, manipulating the vehicle."
When a traffic stop was initiated, the complaint says the eight-year-old child was seen jumping to the passenger seat, and putting his seat belt on.
When told why she was pulled over, prosecutors say Bernard said: "I don't know what you're talking about. No one was operating this vehicle except me." The eight-year-old child, sitting in front of a pit bull that was also on the passenger seat "began to cry," and said "I don't want to go to jail, Mommy."
The complaint says Bernard then turned to her son and said: "You're not going to jail. Just remember her face. She's the one that did this to us," referencing the deputy.
The complaint notes that Bernard was convicted of OWI in January and July of 2014. Her license was revoked at the time of the alleged incident on May 4th, according to DOT records.