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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.


Black eye for public schools

Public schools get another black eye.Most New Hanover teachers should be in the bed getting a good night of rest to fight the uphill battle they face in the classroom.I am sure this is not the first time she has burned the midnight oil.Imagine how motivated she has probably been in the past when trying to educate children with a buzz and little sleep.Your children get shortchanged.


what your saying is that YOU have NEVER done anything the night before work that would impede your performance? She was off work...last time I checked...she can do pretty much what she wants to do after work and if that's get long as it doesn't impede her performance REGULARLY...I don't see the problem

I would say that her

I would say that her performance was impeded, when she was bumping into another vehicle. She is suppose to be a role model to children.


hold her up to to high a standard, a standard you yourself wouldn't hold up to as far as her WORK ETHIC..which has NO BEARING on her getting the DWI...

I agree..

I agree. Whether she wants to be or not, she IS a role model. And texting too? Who cares about her feelings right now. She could have killed someone. Don't the schools know more than that about who's teaching children?


to have a child predator in your church, your doctor might be a drunk, etc. are assuming humans don't screw up...she screwed up and should be punished...HOWEVER, this was outside school, so it has NO bearing unless she came to school drunk OR comes to school and it regularly disables her teaching the know what would be quite funny...if this was an anniversary or birthday night and she had the next day OFF...doesn't excuse the DWI...but it would make half of you look like idiots.

FACT...ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the posters have done SOMETHING the night before work that has impeded their ability to do their jobs...your all hypocrites!..however..she should be publicly flogged for the DWI part...


Drinking is one thing, getting arrested so you wont be at work is another. Of course a RESPONSIBLE person wouldn't have done any of this now would they? NO.


Are you honestly saying she intentionally got arrested so she wouldn't have to be at work the next day? Seriously? Das, I think you've finally lost it.

I didn't say she did this on purpose, geeez. Try reading it again.

It happened

on a Friday night apparently. Unless they have classes on Saturday, I doubt that the students suffered.


The teacher could give you a little schooling. 12:15 am friday,

that means friday school day was still to come in 7-8 hours.

It Friday, so she would

It Friday, so she would probably have had class that day.

Surf - State Trooper who

Surf - State Trooper who responded to the scene tells us it happened just after midnight Friday - meaning Thursday night / Friday morning -- instead of Friday night / Saturday morning.


Scott Pickey
WWAY News Director


You are so right. Teachers should also be single, celibate and have a strict 7pm curfew. Maybe have them live at the schoolhouse. I mean really...having a life? How dare she!

Mind, I am NOT defending drinking and driving, but to say that she is a teacher and therefore can't go out and have a good time is just silly!

I could not agree more, I

I could not agree more, I happen to know this teacher, she is a consummate professional and an EXCELLENT teacher! She screwed up, so what! All of you making all those nasty comments have never had a drink and driven, or you are all so perfect you have NEVER made a mistake in your life? Those children in her class adore her, and it is because of the wonderful person that she is the other 99.999 percent of her life! She has personally been through hell in the last year but she has held it together and been a wonderful person and teacher to get to know. SHAME on WWAY to print just this DUI, how many lawyers, doctors, dentists have gotten DUI and there is nothing printed on that. To ruin this woman's life and her opportunity at her career is awful, just awful. WWAY's so called journalism lacks professionalism totally. NO wonder it is the least watched station in this area.

If we actually made our

If we actually made our teachers live in a barracks requiring singleness, celibacy, a strict curfew and moral fitness there would be "folks" on this board who'd complain that it would be too expensive to feed them.


They have those teachers, they are called Nuns.

Das, aw gee.... why'd you

Das, aw gee.... why'd you have to conjure up that terrible childhood memory of mine :)

Would this be a...

a double ticket...texting and dwi?

Why does noone realize that

Why does noone realize that 12:30am on "Friday" is Thursday night? Not that hard to figure out people. I myself am a NHCS teacher who was cut due to the budget, so this sure is diappointing that teachers fortunate enough to still have their jobs take such advantage of the system.

How do you figure she took

How do you figure she took "such advantage of the system"? Seems to me that she received unwarranted attention because of her position...the other 80 DWI arrests had no mention at all by the muckrakers.

Could it be that competency had to do with retention of teachers?

Why can't they figure out

Why can't they figure out that it was Thursday night / Friday morning? Because Americans aren't taught or forced to THINK anymore. If they were, we wouldn't have the batch of idiots in Washington that just collected their fat paychecks and went home for the holidays while the rest of us look for jobs.