A 29-year-old South St. Paul man was arrested Aug. 5 after police found him stumbling around the DNR boat launch at Verderosa Avenue and Hardman Avenue wearing nothing but his underwear.
According to a Dakota County criminal complaint, bystanders called authorities after watching William Robert Bernard, Jr. and two unnamed men—all of whom were described as "intoxicated"—get a pickup truck stuck in the boat launch while trying to get a boat out of the water.
A strong odor of alcohol and witness corroboration led police to suspect Bernard as the driver of the vehicle despite his "adamant denial."
The complaint states Bernard admitted to drinking alcohol but said "it's irrelevant" because he hadn't been driving.
Police felt confident of their suspicion after observing Bernard's clothing, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and the keys to the vehicle in his hand.
He was taken into custody after refusing a field sobriety test.
According to the complaint, Bernard was given an opportunity to contact an attorney but instead called his mother. He followed the call with a second refusal of a breath test telling officers, "I have no reason to take one."
Bernard was charged with two felony counts of first-degree driving while impaired.
Bernard's criminal history reveals prior impaired-driving convictions for the following offenses:
- Misdemeanor DWI (2006) Dakota County
- Misdemeanor DWI (2007) Dakota County
- Gross misdemeanor DWI (2008) Dakota County
- Felony DWI (2010) Washington County
Bernard is scheduled to appear at an omnibus hearing on Aug. 28. If convicted of one of the most recent counts, Bernard faces up to seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine.