MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 53-year-old woman has been charged for the 10th time for operating while intoxicated.

Cynthia Mae Bearhart, of Sandstone, Minn., was arrested last week after a Wisconsin State Patrol trooper pulled her over on suspicion of drinking and driving. The trooper said upon pulling Bearhart over, he saw Bearhart’s 23-year-old daughter passed out in the passenger seat and numerous beer cans on the floor of the vehicle. He said Bearhart also had an open can of Bud Light in the cup holder.

During a field sobriety test, Bearhart allegedly told the trooper that she couldn’t walk a straight line because she has “equilibrium” and “a bad ear infection.”

After being asked to recite the alphabet, Bearhart stopped after the letter “p” and said, “That’s as far as I got in school.” When prompted again, she was able to continue to the letter “z.”

A preliminary breath test showed Bearhart had a .28 BAC.

In addition to being charged with her 10th OWI, she’s also charged with operating without a valid driver’s license, possessing an open intoxicants in a motor vehicle.

Comments (41)
  1. Melissa says:

    Why? How do they handle repeat offenders in Canada?

  2. hoover says:

    But how sweet that her and her daughter were spending quality time together!!!

    1. Todd says:

      She should have let her daughter drive, probably would have done better.

  3. Jennifer W. says:

    What does it take in this state to put someone away for their own safety and those around them. How many times has she drove drunk without getting caught? I understand she needs help but get her help in prison. 10th DWI, 10 years minimum. At least 1 year for each DWI!

  4. J.Fo says:

    The fact that this woman is not already serving a significant sentence behind bars is a disgusting failure of our judicial system. Does she have to seriously injure or kill someone before we lock her up and teach her a lesson?

  5. Brian says:

    Boy is this looker a classy gal… well we know the mom can out drink her kid, bad showing on the child’s part

  6. Flanders says:

    Ha ha what a drunken cow. A year for each offense sounds fair to me. Loser.

  7. wisconny says:

    I live in the area where she was arrested, I do not know her,just of her. How can she have a car? If you do not learn the first time you get a DWI/DUI, you should not be able to have a license or a vehicle. She is probably driving with out a license, Insurance. Anyone who allows someone to use their vehicle should also be held accountable for whatever happens with the use of their car. If we toughen up on everyone involved it would make people think twice before we hand over the keys to others. If someone does not have a license, or own a car, they do not belong on the street,DO NOT BORROW THEM YOURS, use some common sense.

  8. Why, yes, I am the grammar police. says:

    That last paragraph has such great grammar.

  9. DaveM says:

    I think it’s necessary for a repeat DWI driver to kill a governor or legislator in order to get mandatory prison sentences. Regular working citizens don’t count, and judges don’t care.

  10. Gloria says:

    It’s ridiculous that this individual is still on the streets, so to speak. She needs to be locked up and have mandatory treatment. Even if the treatment doesn’t work, at least keep her in prison (yes, prison because a jail sentence would only involve one year) where she cannot harm others. What a great moral compass she has provided for her daughter throughout her life. Yes, this woman obviously needs help, but I don’t have much sympathy for someone who should at least know by now that if you want to drink, at least don’t drive! She has broken numerous laws throughout the years, and it’s time for the system to take this offender seriously.

  11. Jon says:

    If you get caught drunk driving three times you should be banned for driving for life. No excuses, no exceptions.

    1. Tad G says:

      Banned – yep. The thing is how to stop them. ?????

  12. Ron in Minnetrista says:

    Will locking her up do any good? She sounds like a chronic drunk. Do time and out and likely drunk again. Yep – in time she’ll likely kill someone.
    I am starting to get the whys of these so-called drunk houses. They will kill someone eventually. I think it might be better they drink themselves to death in a safe setting. For the rest of us anyway. She and many others way beyond help.
    And yes – 36 years of sobriety on my own meter so I do truly get substance abuse. Some folks just don’t care nor will they change. Sorry to be so blunt but it’s fact of life. I’ve sponsered more than 20 folks over the years. 13 wanted to change. 7 didn’t. Of that 7 there are 4 alive on streets, 2 dead and 1 killed someone in a fight. It’s tough for some to change……..they just cannot

    1. Tammy in Tamarack says:

      Locking her up will do no more good than the numerous treatment centers shes most likely attended have done for her. Remember she is still human and we all bleed red. I would love to address the current treatment centers treating their patients (which is what this woman should be called) with religion rather than medically; requiring you to give up your power to some other power instead of empowering you. The only thing that makes sense to me in the AA program is the Serenity Prayer. This is after 35 years of experience with Mom and now my Son.

      1. Tammy in Tamarack says:

        Now she faces 12 years in prison on our tab. $25,000 fine shell never be able to pay or recover from. Then she will be let back out with us no healthier than when she went in.

    2. Jason says:

      At the very least if shes locked up she wont be able to drive drunk.

  13. Gloria says:

    Congratulation, Ron, and thank you for caring and sponsoring so many people. You are correct–locking her into the prison system will only keep her off the streets for a time, and I hear what you’re saying about the “drunk houses”. They are rather controversial, and I am still not sure how I feel about them, but in some cases it may be the only recourse.

    Keep up the good work, Ron; you have probably saved many lives, some of them the chronically drunk, and others who are simply minding their own business sharing the streets with these folks.

    1. Justine says:

      You don’t know how you feel about drunk houses? How about a house for murderers then, maybe we can enable them, because I think everyone would agree, that it’s just a disease they can be treated for. We can give them things to kill and enable them more in their behavior and thinking. How about rapists too? Maybe we can get some willing participants, they have a disease too, you know. This is the absurdity of society’s thinking. To enable someone in their, clearly, destructive behavior not only to themselves but to those around them. Maybe we can move the drunk house to your neighborhood, Gloria. How would you feel about that?

  14. TERRY says:


    1. what a fool believes says:

      I’m sorry about your brother. As much as I love MN over all the places I’ve lived, I cannot stand the lackadaisical attitude people have about drinking and driving here. Drinking and driving is NOT a sport or a hobby.

    2. Rychter says:

      Sorry to read your post Terry. My Dad was killed on the side of 494 that year too when we stopped to help someone change a tire. They slammed into that car and crushed him. I’ll never forget nor forgive to be honest. Since then she has had 5 more DWI’s that I am aware of and done jail and prison time for them. It didn’t change her as she’s still doing the same thing. It is not the answer for most people. I am even mixed on treatment more than maybe twice.
      I too am mixed on the “drunk house” deal but they indeed exist for a reason and are way cheaper than locking these repeaters time and time again. I both pity and hate what they are at the same time. That said they are people who are seriously sick. And from what I am learning often mentally ill or mis-wired in the mind. And let us be honest – way way to many are out there. And we want to have the liquor stores open on Sunday too???? Wake up Capital, WAKE UP

  15. poodie says:

    Whoever’s car this was, should be history. It’s probably a family members or a friends so if they lose this car the chances are they’ll never loan her another.
    She’ll get jail time but not much. Overcrowding will limit her confinement. They need to levy her bank accounts with fines and only allow her access to enough money to pay rent/food/utilities, essentially not enough to purchase another car. At her expense they should have someone drop in on her once and awhile to see if she’s acquired another vehicle. If so then it should be towed and impounded.

  16. poodie says:

    Better yet, pay her neighbors with her money to report if she’s acquired another vehicle.

  17. me says:

    Is it suppose to be “11 counts and you’re out”. This is crazy stuff.

  18. Writters Block says:

    Speaking of proper grammar. Did ANYONE happen to notice the wonderful job the writters did at ‘CCO with the title of this article? It says OWI instead of DWI.

    1. Arizona Ron says:

      LOL – yep, we now have more typo’s with spell checkers and proofers than ever before. Says a lot about the new world now eh!

      1. Arizona Ron says:

        Me bad – it’s operating while intoxicated

    2. todd says:

      Its Operating While Intoxicated. Though I can’t tell you what the difference is, it is a correct term. By the way was this on Sunday? Can’t wait to get home to kick back a few cold ones on a Sunday you know, another reason to open the liquor stores on Sunday in MN

      1. Hopsdog says:

        DWI/OWI/DUI….They are all the same.

  19. markH says:

    Folks, clearly our laws are just not serious about removing drunken drivers from our roads. Our elected leaders have decided that driving drunk and endangering the lives of innocent motorists and pedestrians is just a mistake in judgement-not an actual crime. For this woman to amass 10 DUI’s speaks volumes about where our priorities are when it comes to safety on our roads and highways. Drunken driving is a crime, yet (with the exception of a larger fine and license suspension) it’s treated as just another moving violation, which most certainly is not. Call your state representatives and ask why someone like this has a license

  20. cAROL says:


    1. Hopsdog says:

      Would you believe some police departments DON”T sieze vehicles even though it is a STATE LAW. (Minnesota’s). I don’t know what the law is in WI. You ask why? Well, some departments will tell you that it isn’t worth the paper work or they don’t have a secure facility to store them. Most of the time the the bank owns the vehicle. I am just as frustrated as you are….I am a cop.

      1. Ann says:

        Where I live in southern MN, the cops will take the cars and trucks from the DRUNKS, then they put a nice sticker on them, telling us taxpayers this car was donated by a Drunk driver. I think we also got a boat and ATV this way:)
        But I think you need to have 3 DWI in a certain time frame.

      2. Hopsdog says:

        Forfieture takes place when it is their 4th in 10 years. Even if it gets forfieted, it doesn’t stop them from taking someone elses car and they don’t care if they don’t have a license.

  21. Ten says:

    And the really sad part is this woman simply was caught. How many other idiots continually drive vehicles after drinking alcohol or abusing drugs? I’m a college student and trust me drinking and driving isn’t going away any time soon. Not while people still have the capacity to be such selfish morons.

  22. Ann says:

    Really 10 DWI’s, Thats just wrong–she needs prision time and when she gets out she needs to attend a MADD panel every day. If she misses one its back to prision with her, FOREVER
    I can’t stand people who drink and drive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Lonnie says:

    As a person with 34 years of sobrienty, and a chemical dependency counselor and chemical dependency Social Worker for 27 years, I believe our laws and courts are partially to blame for the repeat offenders. In my opinion the criminal justice system enables a lot of people because they are way way to easy on them.
    I saw it hundreds of times for repeat offenders, a few days in jail, a fine which they can pay off over time, nothing more. Consequences sure enough, but not enough to make it so painful that quiting is better than contineing to drink.
    Legal consequences need to be immediate much more severe for even first and second offenses. 6 months in jail for everyone, period, no matter how good or expensive lawyer you have, or how rich you are, no exceptions period. Mandatory prison for a year on the second offense.
    ake it so damn painful and unpleasent that all but the really really chronic or those who don’t care period will still drink and drive. For those like this lady, have a place like we have for the sex offenders, protect us from them.
    How many innocent people have to die before something is done about drinking and driving in this state.
    Back in my drinking days, a DWI wold get you an overnight in jail and a $100 fine, what a joke. I only quit because I got sick and tired of being sick and tired, legal consequences were a joke. I genuinely believe had I had 6 months or a year in jail this first time it would have very likely had a positive effect.
    Lastly, yes I believe in treatment for the education aspect where a person learns about the disease and what they can do about it. But then if they are an alcoholic they need AA. I do not believe in multiple treatments for repeat offenders in lieu of jail or prison. It is a waste of money from what I have seen. Everyone should be given treatment once, maybe twice, but after that they have the information and can either choose to use it or not.

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