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.