Shortly before 7:30 p.m., Clay County Sheriff's Deputies Jason Frazier and Josh Krause responded to a deer/vehicle accident report in a rural area near the intersection of County Road 700 North and 200 West, discovering a 2003 Jeep Liberty standing almost upright in a ditch.
The driver, Melinda Ellis, 35, and passenger, Anita Miller, 43, both from Brazil, were uninjured during the accident, but both smelled of alcohol and were apparently intoxicated.
After failing field sobriety tests, Ellis and Miller were booked into the Clay County Justice Center on the following charges:
With a BAC of 0.12, Ellis, the driver of the vehicle and a science teacher, was preliminarily charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. During a pat down, officers discovered Ellis had an undisclosed amount of marijuana in her possession, which added additional charges of possession of marijuana under 30 grams and possession of paraphernalia.
With a BAC of 0.17, Miller, the passenger and a physical education teacher, was preliminarily charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and indecent exposure. Officers reported Miller displayed outrageous behavior, including dropping her pants to her ankles at least twice in an attempt to urinate in front of the officers.
As of Monday afternoon, both women had bonded out of jail to await arraignment at the Clay County Courthouse, but will not be allowed in a classroom any time soon. Both teachers have also been released from their teaching positions according to officials at their respective school corporations.
Clay Community School Superintendent Dan Schroeder confirmed Miller was on paid leave at this time and faxed The Brazil Times a press release statement concerning her arrest Monday afternoon.
"The administration is aware of the situation, but has no personal knowledge of the allegations at this time. If the allegations are true, this is an unfortunate situation for the individual and students, because teachers do serve as role models. We will seek legal advice and might conduct an investigation," Schroeder wrote.
The Clay Community School Board of Trustees issued a press release Monday afternoon scheduling a special session on Thursday at 6 p.m., to consider and receive potential information "concerning the individual's alleged misconduct and to discuss before a determination, the individual's status as an employee..."
White River Valley School District Superintendent Layton Wall confirmed to The Brazil Times that Ellis, who began her first year teaching at the corporation this past summer, has been suspended with pay pending disciplinary action by the school board on Jan 23. Wall declined further comment.