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FIRST ON 3: Teacher admitted texting, blew 0.13 after school-night crash

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3: Teacher admitted texting, blew 0.13 after school-night crash

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Texting and driving is never a good thing, especially if you've been drinking. A New Hanover County teacher admitted she was doing at least of those things when she hit a van last week. Highway Patrol says she was doing the other.

The Highway Patrol says Theresa Suzanne Jones-Carpenter was just one of 81 weekend DWI arrests in the Cape Fear region. What makes her case unique is that the 36-year-old is a teacher at Castle Hayne Elementary School.

It was early Friday morning when a trooper says Jones-Carpenter rear-ended a van pulling into a parking lot off Dawson Street in Wilmington. On his report, Highway Patrol Sgt. C.M Hardee wrote, "The first thing she said was I was texting and didn't see him... I feel stupid." Hardee continued, "I could smell alcohol."

According to the report, in her first breath test Jones-Carpenter blew a point 0.13, followed by a point 0.12, which is well over the legal limit of 0.08. She is charged with DWI, texting while driving and failure to reduce speed.

We went to Jones-Carpenter's Wilmington home to try and get a comment, but she was not there.

In Castle Hayne, parents whose children go to the school where Jones-Carpenter works, did not want to go on camera, but said the teacher is entitled to her private life despite her public position.

Paperwork shows that Jones-Carpenter was slurring her speech after the crash, had red glossy eyes and a strong odor of alcohol on her breath. The trooper says she also had a bloody lip from the accident.

Jones-carpenter, who is listed as Suzanne Carpenter on the school's website, was booked into the New Hanover County Jail just after 4 a.m. Friday, which is about four hours before the school day started at Castle Hayne.

A school district spokeswoman says that no personnel action has been taken yet and that administrators are looking into what happened. There's no word yet on whether Jones-Carpenter missed work Friday or the two school day since. Today is the first day of winter break for the district.

Jones-Carpenter is due in court February 14.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Mya, there would have been a

Mya, there would have been a time not too long ago where I would have had a little fun with your statement that our country is falling to Facism, trying to downplay your sense of worry and to be re-assuring that all will be well in America forever.

I agree with you, our freedoms have been deteriorating at an increasing rate over the recent years. Checkpoints, conforming driver licenses, saturation patrols and other intrusions all done in the name of the "will of the public" and "public safety". Just remember to smile for the Trooper the next time you pass through a roadblock and have your "papers" ready!

History records that during the World War II era, FDR and Chuchill were known to enjoy their "spirits". Hitler was a teetotaler.

if ya bother to look

go to and you can see most of those booked into the NHC jail so its not all that hard to see the "other 79" if you really do care that much.. Funny thing was I didnt see her pic when I went to look her up. Also when the story first posted it was said she blew .08 right at the limit so not sure how the info got messed up. I doubt she'll lose her job as it doesnt require her to drive students around. She should be eligible for a restricted license (assuming its her 1st offense and she was 2X legal limit therefore its not aggrivated Drunk driving or what they list as DWI Level 5 on the Dept of Corrections offender registry) to get back adn forth to work, legit medical appts and church should she chose to go. She made a bad choice thats obvious and she will pay for it because the DWI automatically puts her in the high risk pool for minimum 3 years and the texting while driving I think is equivalent to reckless driving violation as well. For those who made mention and assumed she was going to go to work had she not been in the accident are making assumptions, Yes she might have but she also might have called in sick to work you werent inside her head so you cant ASSUME anything.. I normally am very intolerent of DWIs due to family history of one hitting my mother at noon on a Saturday and causing her to have permenant back issues as a result. I dont condone what she did but her job has zero to do with her mistake so lets not make a tossed salad when all you have lettuce and cabbage in the bowl.. As hard as it is to get decent teachers (I personally dont know if she was any good obviously) but having friends in the field they are sorely underpaid and the good ones rarely stay for long unless they truly love what they do.


"I dont condone what she did but her job has zero to do with her mistake..."

It wasn't a mistake. She intentionally got in a vehicle and drove it while she was drunk...and was texting at the time. She knows it's against the law to drive drunk, and texting while driving, and she chose to break the law anyway. She shouldn't have any special priviledges just because of her profession. Heck, if we're doing that, let's let all doctors off the hook too...and my barber could really use a break, and my pet sitter.

I don't agree that "her job has zero to do with her mistake..."
She's a teacher. She influences young minds on a daily basis. I want to know if someone who is teaching my child is breaking the law and providing my child with a negative influence. I'm also sure it's an embarrassment to her employer, and it shows a total lack of good judgement on her part.

All that aside, if you had been the one she hit, I think you might have a different viewpoint.

once again ~ lets not use

once again ~ lets not use the word MISTAKE when it comes to DRINKING & DRIVING ~

there are NO SHADES of GRAY when you KNOW you WILL be DRINKING that night, thats why there are friends and TAXIS ....



New Hanover teacher blowing 0.13

PEOPLE!!! Did ANY OF YOU notice that she got pulled FRIDAY morning!! 4 hours BEFORE school was to START !! I am to assume that if she didn't get pulled over she would have gone into work... A.K.A. to 'teach children' in her drunken state. WOW !! i WONDER how many times she has done this in the past !!!! HOME SCHOOLING is sounding better & better


was PLENTY of time for her to sober she might not have felt good...but THOUSANDS of men and women pick up guns every day in uniform that don't "feel good" that morning...

The incident occurred at

The incident occurred at 12:15 a.m., according to the trooper who made the arrest. Does school start at 4:15 a.m., genius??? Get off your high horse, and pray to God you never make the slightest mistake...

We elected them to be responsible

We are forced to send our children to school.

It's the school board's job to ensure that the teachers that spend hours each day with our children are responsible and of good moral character.

We have to be made aware of the actions and behavior of our government and people employed by our government.

If WWAY didn't report it, how would we know it happened?

Excuse me but nobody is

Excuse me but nobody is forced to send their child to a public school....private schools are available and another option is to home school, so you see you and others do have choices, the government is NOT forcing you to send your child to a public school!!

WRONG! Its your job!

You've got it a little backwards there. You are not forced to send your children to school. You have the choice to homeschool them. The school board, and teachers are not responsible for making sure your children have a good moral character. YOU ARE. Your children are YOUR responsibility. NOT THE GOVERNMENTS. So, don't be mad at the system. The system is working just like it always has. When our society gets their priorities straight and stands up to take care of its children, and thus future, you will have no need to blame the schools, and government for how your children have turned out!

Home school and private

Home school and private schools are not real options....these kids parents drink,the kids see them drinking, probably see them drive after consuming alchol and private school teachers drink too so what are the other options?

your 2/3 right

private schools are cheap but under tax code changes tuition is deductable if its an option. As for home schooling I disagree its expensive my exwife and former sister in law were both home schooled and my former inlaws were far from flush with cash. Their father worked as a mechanic making about $500 a week if he was lucky and their mother was a clerk at a used car lot making minimum wage PT yet they still learned and ironically my ex-wife got her GED sooner then she would have graduated HS by a year, and graduated nursing school with honors within a few years. It can be done. Its a matter of priorities like it or not. Whats more important in the end the big expensive $200 cell phone bill and cable bills or your kids future.. My parents sent me to private school for 1st-6th grades (which to me are the most important years as you learn the basics of reading, writing, math skills) on a single income with my dad as a mid level military officer which I can promise you 30 yrs ago is much much less then it is nowadays. We would literally be left with $10-$20 for 10 days at the end of the month (back then the miltary paid monthly not 2X a month as they do now in most cases) so it wasnt easy but again its a case of what is more important trivial objects or again the future of your children its your decision in the end. Personally I dont have kids of my own yet but if and when I do I can guarantee my wife and I will sacrifice what we must to make sure they get a quality education in a private school at least for the 1st several years.

Not saying you are wrong

Not saying you are wrong because I don't know what branch of service you are referring to but I was in the Navy in the early 1960's....we got paid every 2 weeks, that was 50 years ago!!!

No, I don't have it

No, I don't have it wrong.

If you work, and don't have a large income, both homeschooling and expensive private schools are out. So yes, you are forced to send your children to public school. That is the reality for the majority of people.

I didn't say that the government was responsible for my child's moral charactor. Reread my post.

What I said was the school board was responsible for ensuring that the teachers had good moral charactor.


Thats right she should not have been drinking and driving. And court will take care of that. But WOW with the pics and everything thats alittle over board. She teaches from lets say 7am till around 3, plus meetings and fund raisers and tons of other stuff she does far beyond her salary. Why tear this womans life apart? Does she have any prior arrest
like many on boards and councils around here? Then there would be a story.

it was a FRIDAY MORNING !!!!

it was a FRIDAY MORNING !!!! Her STUDENTS would be waiting for her in 4 HOURS !!! she was SOOOO DRUNK !!!! She would have been DRUNK at WORK~ you do the MATH ~ your a TEACHER !


Or is that a busted lip from the accident?? Hard to tell. Oh well, I am appalled at the number of folks who are on here defending this woman who BROKE the LAW!!! let me repeat.. SHE BROKE THE LAW FOLKS!! Texting while DRUNK is very dum of her. I have friends who have died at the hands of drunk drivers. And b/c she's a have mercy??? Her profession should exempt her from being put on blast by wwwaytv3?? Really folks. Such hypocrites.


can you read? I don't think ANYBODY has posted defending the DUI infraction...what people are defending her for is against those who are attacking her because she is a teacher. I will no defend her from drinking and driving...but I don't really care that she's a teacher...

Herpes. Really? I am

Herpes. Really? I am appalled at the level of ignorance that shows up in these replies. DumB has a b on the end.



I didn't spell check. I saw

I didn't spell check. I saw an TERRIBLY IGNORANT reponse to this story so I thought I would ruffle your feathers a little. You took the bait quite nicely and handed us a wonderful assembly of fragmented sentences in all caps, apparently due to your laziness. Stellar. Your mother must be so proud. Checkmate.

My middle name is Keith, by the way. And I'd be happy to meet with you to share the rest of my name and also show you just exactly what kind of a jerk I am.

I do know Suzanne. I am not defending her actions while she was driving. What she did was wrong and she will be dealt with accordingly in a court of law. I firmly believe that the court system that governs our state, flawed as it may be, is reasonably sufficient in prescribing and administering punishment. The problem with this story being shown so much attention is that the court's punishment will pale in comparison to what all of this attention will bring upon her, which is not how the system is designed to work.

You Know what...

In response to the last paragraph, you are absolutely correct. I have had a change of heart. My desire, honestly, is not to demean or belittle Suzanne at all. I know she is going through the ringer already (with the public opinion and all). So with that said, my apologies to Suzanne for that outlandish subject heading regarding her lip. It was totally uncalled for on my part.

Again, this is not grammar school and I will continue to post my fragmented sentences (whether in lower or upper case letters) at my discretion. No spell check involved. This post is "AS IS"

Use MS Word or OpenOffice

to write your blog or reply. Then use the spell check and grammar tool. Then cut, copy and paste. Now you look like a scholar and educated person! Plus OpenOffice is free!

APPALLING, I'll tell you

APPALLING, I'll tell you what's appalling, first, calling another writer a piece of trash. The principal element which was called to task in the post that elicited your response was the mal-statement that a Herpes scar was visible. The article states that the driver was injured with a cut lip.

Who were the other 80 people?

Who were the other 80 people that got DWIs?

What are their jobs?

Why not list all people that got charged? I feel sure that there are repeat offenders in the mix; I think that's a bigger story.

How did WWAY come to find out that this woman was a teacher and why did you choose to focus on her?

This woman, like all of us at some point in our lives, made a bad choice. I do not condone that, but believe that she also does not deserve the additional publicity that the other folks charged are not getting.

I hope that if anyone at WWAY ever gets a DWI that it makes the FRONT PAGE of every news media outlet in the area.

Her personal life is hers?

Her personal life is hers? YES, but when it affects my kids, that makes it my business. Good to know my children have such a good role model!!! Thanks for reporting this story!

Role model

Sorry to inform you but your child will never have a perfect, mistake-free role model and that includes her mother and father. I don't know about you but I don't send my kids to school to find role models I send them to be educated and as long as she does that adquately I'm not overly concerned about her personal issues whatever they may be. This teacher goes above and beyond for her students and my kids have excelled in her class. From what I can tell she is well-liked by her students and parents and hopefully she can continue to teach, if not Castle Hayne Elementary will be losing an excellent teacher.

WWAY, please continue

WWAY, please continue reporting on DWI's in our area. As someone who lost a dear friend to a drunk driver I appreciate examples made of every person that makes the choice to endanger the lives of the innocent.

Hopefully, this teacher is just the first.

I think a weekly report on your broadcast, giving names and pictures of these selfish fools who drink and drive would be a great addition to your nightly news broadcasts.

Maybe if people thought that everyone would find out about their decision to drive drunk it may cause them to engage their brain before getting behind the wheel in that condition.

YES, please continue.....

Totally agreed....I've been watching WWAY news since moving here in 2001...They do an even better job with their weather and investigative reporting.

WWAY needs to KEEP posting

WWAY needs to KEEP posting PICTURES of people who continue to Drink while Driving, post the ones that get stopped in ROAD BLOCKS post ALL of them!! Maybe by getting their faces out for the public to see they may think twice before doing it again. Although with that being said some will continue a terrible cycle that they see nothing wrong with. PROBLEM is the DISTRICT ATTORNEY is NOT taking this problem seriously.....just because they may be a teacher or county employee, they should NOT be given any kind of break, they should be punished to the fullest!! Just because they "resign" from their job or "quit" is NOT good enough! They need to accept the FULL responsibillity of their actions. There are too many victims of DUI.....most are innocent lives lost because of someones choice to drink and drive!