Eyewitness To Bernhardt Crash: Child Was In The Vehicle

Thursday, March 22nd 2007, 3:03 pm
By: News On 6

There’s new information on the drunk driving arrest of an Oklahoma author. Bill Bernhardt was stopped by Jenks police Sunday afternoon, not long after a caller reported he had smashed into a mailbox. The News On 6 found one of the eyewitnesses to that incident, she says Bernhardt had his 14-year-old son in the vehicle, and that his 6-year-old son might have been in the backseat. The News On 6’s Steve Berg reports she didn't realize it was Bernhardt's son in the passenger seat, until the boy came back and introduced himself.

Angela Koch was in the driveway helping a friend move this past Sunday.

"Next thing you know, we heard this loud bang-crash. We turn around and look and right across the street, there was a vehicle, I think it was a Land Rover, had smashed into the metal mailbox," she said.

Koch says the truck stopped and she and her friend rushed over to see if the people inside were okay.

"He stops and looks at us, face-to-face, and then takes off," she said. "I mean he basically floored it."

Before the vehicle sped away she says she got a good look at the people inside.

"It was up on the curb, came down and started heading toward us, and he stopped immediately, looked at us and we seen that there was a teenage child in the front seat," Koch said.

She says she had no idea who the people were until, much to her surprise, a teenage boy came riding up on his scooter minutes later and introduced himself as Bill Bernhardt's son.

"His son came to the scene, said his dad was intoxicated. He felt really bad and sorry about it, so we waited until the cops got here, let them know, and found out that they had picked him up in the city of Jenks somewhere," said Koch.

Koch says the boy also told her that his 6-year-old brother, Bernhardt's other son, was also in the vehicle in the back seat.

Koch says she’s mad because her daughter was playing in the yard at the time of the crash.

"It's one thing if you're going to have a problem, and I know it's tough to overcome,” she said. “It's just he's endangering the lives of many others now and his own children."

Sunday’s arrest was Berhardt's second on a drunk driving complaint in the past month. We tried but were not able to reach him for comment.

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