Principal, Coach Faces Drunken Driving Charges 8-31-2010 - WNEM TV 5

Principal, Coach Faces Drunken Driving Charges 8-31-2010

A high school principal and varsity football coach in Millington is facing drunken driving charges.
According to court documents, Roger Bearss II, 45, was arrested in Bay City in July.
He has been charged with operating while intoxicated and driving the wrong way on a one-way street.
WNEM TV5's Jay Brandow talked with residents about the school leader's alleged actions in the small Mid-Michigan town where everyone knows everyone's name.
The charges against Bearss were the talk of the town at McPherson's restaurant on Tuesday.
Millington resident, Bob Sebert, spoke with TV5 about his longtime friend.
Despite the allegations surrounding Bearss' drunken driving incident, Sebert offered some advice -- coated in tough love.
"I think he can do his job fine," said Sebert. "In the long run, he's gonna have to stop that stuff."
TV5 discovered "that stuff" Sebert is referring to -- dates back to 2003, in northern Michigan's Benzie County, when Bearss pled guilty to driving while impaired.
Bearss was given two years worth of probation, a $550 fine and had to take a highway safety class. He was not an employee of Millington schools when the first offense occurred.
Long-time area resident Victor Reinert said despite the charges, he's supporting the coach.
"He's a good friend of mine and doesn't deserve what might come of it," Reinert said.
Those who were critical of Bearss did not want to appear on camera, but did say that they question the message Bearss is sending to students.
Millington superintendent Lawrence R. Kroswek declined an interview with TV5, but did issue a written statement saying its practice is not to comment on any employee, status or situation that may lead to disciplinary action.
The note also said legal issues that take place off campus and not on school time are dealt with on a case by case basis.
Other residents TV5 spoke thought Bearss should be allowed privacy during.
"I don't know him personally, but when he's on his own time, it's his business," Howard Hergenreder said.
"If it would have been anybody else in Millington, nobody would be doing a piece on him," Deb Diener told TV5. "Because of his position -- it's news."
TV5 did learn Bearss was at a faculty meeting Tuesday morning and remains on the job.
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