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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.



"The injustice done to an individual is sometimes of service to the public." - Junius


"We dont need to pass judgement unless we know all the facts."

She caused a car accident while texting, under the influence of alcohol, over the legal limit.

This incident highlights poor judgment on many levels for any individual. As a teacher, she is a representative of her school and has a responsibility to her students.


he who is without sin cast the first stone...Mr/Mrs perfect! Where are the other DWI's from the last week? I find this just STUPID.

SIN??? this is a crime , not

SIN??? this is a crime , not a sin. the BIBLE states to 'obey the laws of the land, respect authority and the laws!!! read it sometime.


well crucify her for the DWI, I'll be on your side, but the other stuff is irrelevant. I know people carrying guns RIGHT NOW, IN UNIFORM that have hangovers...

but how many cops with

but how many cops with hangovers hit a van 7 hrs before work while texting. hangover at home is one thing but while driving is against the law. i dont drink, but i have arrested an officer in 1996 that was. he blew past the limit. did what i took an oath to do. fair game when u r on the highway.

7969, not long ago a UNCW

7969, not long ago a UNCW officer was busted for being drunk on the job. Gawd, I'll confess this just for the "laughs and giggles".... I got sh*tfaced drunk with a some cops just last night.

I am unsure how being "hung over" applies to law enforcement, but I know that a hangover is considered impaired in commercial aviation.

Bad Choice WWAY

Just because a teacher went out and made a mistake, you have basically slandered her, even though it is public record. I don't see the names of everyone else that was charged with DWI in New Hanover County last week and thier type of employment listed in your article. What a shame for you to print this article. Now her private life has been made public by you. I'm sure that not everyone that works with WWAY is an absolute angel. What would you do if an employee of WWAY got a DWI? I bet it would not be front page news on your site.

there is that word MISTAKE

there is that word MISTAKE again. her citation will read. that you did unlawfully and willfully drive while under an impairing substance. it doesn't say you made a mistake and drove impaired.this is the easiest crime not to commit, it is not a mistake.

You still fail

Sorry, criminal behavior isn't a mistake. She made the choice to drink, she made the choice to drive.
Maybe you should get somebody to teach you the meaning of "slander" because reporting facts isn't slander. She is a NHC teacher, she drove under the influence of alcohol and she wrecked. Where is the slander?

You said in your earlier post you were leaving yet you are still here trying to defend a criminal.
Goodbye Guest 012374.

well said.!!!thank you and

well said.!!!thank you and Merry Christmas.


What part of the story was slander?

I am stating this from a law

I am stating this from a law enforcement side, what she did was wrong, but why WWAYTV3 is it front page news. She made a mistake, does that mean she is not a good teacher. How many other people were charged with DWI last week and thier picture is not posted on your site. You have lost a viewer of your news site for sure. I really think you should apologize to this lady for your poor judgement in what is important to post on your site.

i am stating this from a law

i am stating this from a law enforcement side too! it is not a mistake!! cant people calling it a mistake on here get that through their heads. SHE DONE THIS INTENTIONAL. SHE IS A TAX PAID EMPLOYEE ON OUR DIME. she is responsible for so many children while they are in her care at a school. it is not like she is someone that works at a local private business that gets paid by private business funds. she is a tax paid employee that is in charge of children it is the publics business to know what we are paying for and expect them to act as ambassadors of the schools. after all she is a TEACHER.she is to be held to a higher standard. SO WHAT IS SHE TEACHING OUR CHILDREN??. you are talking about LIVES of innocent people she could have hurt or killed, even if she did not get caught and went to school and had children in her care. i think you need to sit back and look at the films that i have seen and vehicle crashes that i have investigated and assisted with where there were at one time 7 people killed because of a drunk driver!!! by the way, the drunk driver that killed[ this was over 15 years ago] in a mini van, had a knot on his head and that is all he got. it was 3 adults, 4 children from Indiana that were killed while down for CHRISTMAS in a 35 MPH zone!!!! now what does that tell you ???? he was speeding and drunk, just think if there were texting back then . if you are a law officer, you need to go back to class and get tough on crime. embarrassment sometimes is a good punishment. this lady broke the law and endangered innocent lives as well as her own. ya see, when no one values their life enough when they drive drunk, do ya think they value yours????

Thanks for playing

Sorry, criminal behavior isn't a mistake. She made the choice to drink, she made the choice to drive.
Goodbye Guest 012374.

It was a school day !

Poor reading comphrension! 12:15am Friday morning is just 15 minutes into a new day.Trolling around Dawson Street on a late Thursday night into Friday morning raises some red flags as well.With a Friday morning school day commencing in just 7 and 1/2 hours, she would have been ill-prepared to teach.


if YOU do something the night before that makes you ill-prepared for your job the next day...that should raise some red flags? I think she should be punished to the full extent of the law for her DWI...however...if she wants to drink and it doesn't impeded her job REGULARLY...don't see a problem.

Teacher Texting

Pay them more money!!!!! Teachers go through enough stress doing one of the worlds most significant duties while making barely enough to stay off food stamps!!!

And now your try to persecute them online? Shame on WWAY! Find some real news instead of sitting behind your lazy desks and just "surfing the web" for your stories.

This method of journalism is Yellow and Repugnant!

Typical of your lazy reporters "reacting" to news instead of going out in the real world and finding out the real stories that matter!

Get off your pedestals-- especially the ones with leather seats in front of a computer monitor that swivel backwards so that your mighty backs and butts are as comfortable as possible!

A lowly teacher on front page? Elections, Iraq War, Holidays, Embattered Councilmen, Cancer, Poverty, lack of religion in our classrooms.... you truly need a new manager in the news office. I feel sorry for your pitifulness, laziness and overall ineptitude!

i know law

i know law enforcement/detention officers on food stamps. now that has to arrest and clean up the streets that were taught by good sober teachers. now what pedestals do u want them to sit on???

Your thought process is repugnant!

Are you joking "WatchDog"? Pay them more money, yes, I agree but this has no context in this discussion. You cannot blame and correlate her career and her life choices in the same argument, that would then open teachers up to poor moral conduct overall! If we have a drunk teacher in the mix, I want to know about it because I want to make sure children stay away from her should she not lose her job.

Furthermore, LACK OF RELIGION IN CLASSROOMS!? Do you think before you speak? IF you want more religion in your child's classroom you have the right to send him/her to any of the private relgious backed educational facilties in town.

You have a true "ineptitude" of how journalism in a small town works. Sounds like you may indeed be a colleague of the teacher herself. I think many of these posts defending this soon to be former educator are friends of hers without thinking about the danger she put everyone in last night.

I'd love WWAY to get a hold of those drunken texts; then we can see how important it was to nearly kill someone on the road last night. I love a nice drink just like the other guy; AT MY HOUSE with the door locked.

How about teachers do the

How about teachers do the job they applied and studied for at the salary they accepted to work for. If it is not enough then go into another field. I have my degree and work in a very stressful field and I have to work all year long, unlike teachers, and make about the same, but that was what I chose. If I don't like it, I can leave. What does paying them anymore have to do with her getting drunk, driving and texting and crashing. Do you think that if she was making more she wouldn't be doing that. As far as it being in the news, I'm fine with it. She is responsible for many tiny lives on a daily basis and she needs to show responsibility. I do not want to have my kids at school with a teacher who is hung over and not able to provide the care and instruction that is expected of her. Don't want to be in the news don't make news.

Could have been worse

She could have been driving the bus in that condition. Texting while driving - stupid to say the least. I guess they will have to wait until the court case is heard, but she should be suspended from driving children around.

Uh, she's a teacher, not a

Uh, she's a teacher, not a bus driver. tens of thousands of dollars difference, there.


She's a teacher...not a school bus driver. Read the article again.

Double duty

Some teachers also drive the buses as substitute drivers.

Not in New Hanover County,

Not in New Hanover County, they don't.


You really should change the headline of the story. Friday is not really considered a "school night". A school night is when you have school the next day. I know WWAY enjoys sensationalizing things, but come on.

i beg to differ. Read again,

i beg to differ. Read again, it was the early morning on friday,I guess its ok to teach with a buzz,and we wonder why our children are not so bright


Read the story again. 12:15 a.m. That's BEFORE the Friday school day would have begun.

News Content Manager
WWAY NewsChannel 3

While I do like the fact

While I do like the fact that this station has dug to un-earth some stories this year, this is a story not worthy of any headline (it's not even a news story!) and I sincerely hope the same happens to you so we can see your mugshot on the screen with sensationalized headlines that give the impression you are not fit to report (I don't think you are anyway). Some tactics this station uses are beyond deplorable, have nothing to do with journalism and I hope that your potential future employers are made aware of your lack of intergity... I do not know the person but if I were a family member watching you make her a community pariah you would have more to worry about than the news! I hope you get yours too and just in time for the holiday season!