Bleeth Charged in Coke Bust

Former Baywatch star arraigned on two counts of cocaine possession after Michigan car accident

By Mark Armstrong Nov 16, 2001 10:00 PMTags
Yasmine Bleeth could face some serious time for her September drug bust.

The 33-year-old former Baywatch pinup pleaded innocent Friday to felony drug charges after she was allegedly caught with cocaine in her pocketbook following a Detroit-area car accident.

The actress appeared before Judge Tina Green in a Romulus, Michigan, courtroom, where she was arraigned on two felony charges of cocaine possession (less than 25 grams) and a misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle under the influence of narcotics.

The felony charges each carry a maximum sentence of four years in jail and a fine of up to $25,000, while the misdemeanor carries a maximum 93-day sentence, or up to a $500 fine or 45 days of community service.

Bleeth, who most recently starred on Nash Bridges and Aaron Spelling's short-lived soap Titans, was busted September 12 after she and a companion (31-year-old Detroit resident Paul Cerrito) were in a car accident while driving on Interstate 94. She and Cerrito were heading to the nearby Detroit Metropolitan Airport when her car pulled off the highway and wound up on a median.

No one was injured, but police--believing Bleeth appeared intoxicated--took her into custody. Cops later searched her purse and allegedly found four syringes containing a liquid form of cocaine and a small plastic bag with cocaine residue, according to lab tests that police received back this week.

Bleeth spent the night in jail, and she's currently free on $10,000 bond. A day after her arrest, police obtained a warrant to search her room at a Romulus Doubletree Hotel. "More cocaine and narcotics paraphernalia were found in the room," says police Commander David Early.

Bleeth's lawyer, Jerry Sabbota, said Friday that "her matter will be resolved when she goes to court."

"The only question I really have is that if she wasn't who she is, would anyone care?" he asked. "That's unfortunate."

Cerrito, meanwhile, has not yet been arraigned, but he also faces a felony cocaine possession charge and an additional "habitual offender" count. If convicted, Cerrito could face double the maximum four-year sentence. He's currently being held in an Oakland County, Michigan, jail on other charges.

Bleeth apparently met Cerrito while staying at Promises, the Malibu-based rehab facility where celebs such as Paula Poundstone, Ben Affleck, Charlie Sheen and Tim Allen have all sought treatment for drug or alcohol abuse.