A Richmond Hill father was arrested and charged with violating Leandra’s Law last week after he allegedly drove his SUV drunk on the Rockaway boardwalk with six children inside, the Queens district attorney said.
Renato Bernal, 41, of 129th Street, was arraigned Sept. 1 on reckless endangerment, driving under the influence, child endangerment and other charges in the Aug. 31 incident, DA Richard Brown said. Bernal was in his Ford Explorer with six children, between 7 and 16, on the boardwalk at Beach 73rd Street around 1:30 a.m. and allegedly went on a wild drunk ride that nearly hurt a bystander, according to Brown.
“It’s a miracle that no one was killed,” he said in a statement.
Queens Criminal Court Judge Toko Serita set bail at a $7,500 bond or $5,000 cash and ordered Bernal to return to court next Monday, the DA’s office said. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison, according to Brown.
Bernal was charged with violating Leandra’s Law, which prohibits drivers from operating a vehicle under the influence with a child 15 years old or younger inside. The law was named after Leandra Rosado, an 11-year-old girl who was killed last year in a drunk driving crash.
Bernal allegedly nearly hit a pedestrian on the boardwalk and argued with him before driving off, according to Brown. A police officer found the motorist at the corner of Beach 108th Street and Shore Front Parkway with bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and a strong smell of alcohol on his breath, the DA said.
The father allegedly told the officer, “I was not driving anywhere near the boardwalk, I have been parked for 20 minutes, I didn’t have anything to drink,” according to the DA.
An intoxilyzer test indicated that Bernal had a blood alcohol content of .122 percent, which is over the .08 percent limit in New York state, Brown said.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@c
©2010 Community News Group
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