By STEPHANIE BARISH
3:17 PM EDT, September 1, 2010
ROCKAWAY, N.Y. (WPIX)
A Queens man is accused of driving drunk on the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk with six children in his car, PIX 11 News has learned.
The incident occurred around 1:20 a.m. Tuesday in Rockaway, Queens.
Renato Bernal, 41, of Richmond Hill, allegedly got behind the wheel of his 2005 Ford Explorer and drove along the boardwalk while under the influence of alcohol, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. The children in his car ranged in age from 7 to 16 years old.
Officials say Bernal almost slammed into a man walking on the boardwalk and then argued with him before driving off at a high rate of speed.
Police officers quickly tracked Bermal down at the intersection of Beach 108th Street and Shore Front Parkway. He allegedly had bloodshot eyes, a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and was swaying.
Bernal 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."
However, when police administered a breathalyzer test on the suspect, his blood alcohol content was .122 percent -- way above the legal limit of .08 in New York.
Bermal has been charged with reckless endangerment, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol with children in the car, endangering the welfare of a child, among other charges.
He is also facing charges under Leandra's Law, which went into effect last December, making it a felony to drive drunk with a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle. The statute was named for Leandra Rosado, an 11-year-old child who died after the vehicle in which she was a passenger - being driven by a drunk driver - crashed.
"It is a miracle that no one was injured or killed," said Brown.
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