Make it a double – 2 DUI arrests in same day for Auburn woman

She is charged with resisting officer on second arrest
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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A third of a mile, 22 hours and 12 minutes is all that separated two drunken driving arrests of the same Auburn woman on Friday.

Between arrests, Jessica Marie Bernardo had been detained in Placer County Jail for about five hours, and the 29-year-old has been held there on $12,500 bail ever since the second arrest.

Bernardo is also being charged with obstructing/resisting an officer when Auburn police arrested her the second time.

“She was uncooperative, yeah,” Auburn Police Chief John Ruffcorn said. “She was upset that we arrested her twice in 24 hours.”

She was scheduled to be arraigned on the charges Tuesday at Dept. 13 of Placer County Superior Court.

Police first arrested Bernardo at 1:17 a.m. on the 100 block of Harrison Avenue in Auburn, then again at 11:39 p.m. near the intersection of High Street and Lincoln Way in Auburn.

She had been jailed from 1:30 a.m. until 6:16 a.m. Friday, said Dena Erwin, Placer County Sheriff’s Office public information officer. Bernardo did avoid being booked again on the same calendar day, but still checked back into Placer County Jail within 24 hours at 12:10 a.m. Saturday

Ruffcorn said it is rare for a person to be arrested twice in the same day for drunken driving.

“It doesn’t happen,” he said. “I think we might have done it one other time I’ve heard about it. It is very uncommon and it is not a victimless crime.”

She faces two charges of drunken driving with .08 percent or higher blood alcohol content and two charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, along with one count of resisting/obstructing an officer.

Her BAC levels from initial sobriety tests had not been made available by police Tuesday.

Upon being booked on a drunken driving charge, offenders typically undergo a health examination and are placed into either a sobering cell or normal detaining quarters, Erwin said. They are monitored at regular intervals and are released once they are deemed sober, but no sobriety tests are conducted at that time, she said.

“You don’t release somebody who is still drunk back into the public,” Ruffcorn said. “So ... she sobered up and started the process all over again.”

He said “knowing what I know,” he hopes the court gets her help because “obviously there are larger problems that need to be solved.” Ruffcorn said he did not know whether Bernardo had been arrested for drunken driving prior to Nov. 30.

A second DUI conviction within 10 years of the first carries a minimum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $390 fine, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

“Hopefully people learn not to drink and drive from their first arrest, but obviously there’s some issues here if we’re arresting the same person for drunk driving twice in a row,” he said. “I have a feeling that the courts are not going to look lightly on this, and we’re very fortunate to have a very strong district attorney here that takes a hard line when it comes to DUI enforcement.

“And I have a feeling once they get this case, hopefully there’s not going to be a third time, because drunk driving is serious. They’re a potential murder on the road.”

Ruffcorn himself has been hit by a drunken driver when he was on patrol in 1994 working for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office.

He was out of work for nine months recovering from injuries to his shoulder and hip after the driver collided with his car at 80 mph, he said. The impact sent him and his trainee into the trunk, as the car collapsed, he added.

Ruffcorn keeps a framed photo of the wrecked patrol car on a shelf in his office.

“I have obviously been a victim of it and it’s dangerous,” he said. “And hopefully, all we ask, especially during the holidays, is for people to be a little more responsible in knowing other people might be out there who aren’t as responsible as you are.”


Jon Schultz can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews