Author Arrested On DUI Complaints Speaks

Monday, February 26th 2007, 8:35 am
By: News On 6

A noted Tulsa author, William Bernhardt, was arrested on a DUI complaint. The writer was taken into custody Friday afternoon after officers say he was running into a curb at 61st and Yale. The News on 6’s Steve Berg reports police also added a complaint of resisting arrest, they say he refused to get out of his vehicle.

The former attorney’s books are mainly legal thrillers; ironically, his fans are now reading about him. Steve's Sundry owner Joanie Stephenson sells Bill Berhnardt's books, but she counts herself as one of his readers too.

"Love his books. Love Ben Kincaid," she said.

Kincaid is the recurring protagonist in a long line of legal and crime thrillers by Bernhardt, many with Oklahoma settings. Tulsa was the setting on Friday, when police pulled over the author and then pulled him out of his SUV, leaving a nasty-looking bruise on his face.

"Well, my initial reaction was one of shock, and then that immediately rolled over into one of concern for Bill and his family," Stephenson said.

Police say Bernhardt refused a command to get out of his SUV and reached down between the seats. The News on 6 spoke with Bernhardt by phone, he declined an on-camera interview, he says he didn't resist the police in any way and that he was trying to retrieve his I-pod music device when he reached between the seats.

Bernhardt has appeared on TV before, and is well known not just for his books, but for his contributions to the local literary scene. He’s also helped several local authors get published through his own publishing company.

The arrest comes just as he prepares to debut his latest book, “Capitol Threat.” In fact, he is still scheduled for a book signing at Steve's Sundry this Thursday.

"We would just encourage everyone to come out and rally around him, his friends and supporters, and just him, y'know, we all make mistakes," said Stephenson. "And it's a shame that it has to end up in the paper with a picture and on television."

Bernhardt talked about his new book on Tuesday’s “Six In The Morning” with LeAnne Taylor. He also talked about last Friday's incident. To view a video of that interview on Six In The Morning, click here.