WINTER HAVEN — “I am in so much trouble” and “I messed up bad” is what a physical education teacher is reported to have said after getting arrested following a two-car crash. The teacher, 57-year-old Kathryn Lewis, is now facing DUI charges.
It was an off-duty police officer who happened to be jogging in the area where the crash occurred who placed Lewis under arrest. According to the report from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Lewis admitted to the deputy that she had been drinking alcohol at a party prior to the crash. Lewis was given a Standardized Field Sobriety Test, then arrested and charged with DUI and DUI with Property Damage, both misdemeanors. She was booked into the Polk County Jail.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd noted that Lewis informed deputies that she works for Jewett Middle Academy in Winter Haven.
“We are so thankful that no one was injured in this DUI crash, but this is another sad example of a person in a position of trust making a bad decision,” Judd said. “We expect more from people who not only work closely with children, but who are also role models to children. As such, they need to understand that they are held to a higher standard and need to behave like it.”
What Happened At The Crash in Winter Haven?
According to Brian Bruchey, the public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the crash happened on Thursday, Feb. 11 in south Winter Haven, around 5:41 p.m. at the intersection of Eloise Loop Road and Orange Manor Drive. What’s known is that Lewis was driving west on Eloise Loop Road in a white 2012 Nissan Sentra. The other vehicle, a gray 2016 Toyota Corolla, was headed in the opposite direction.
According to the arrest report, Lewis started to make a left turn onto Orange Manor Drive, but failed to yield the right-of-way to the oncoming Corolla, which struck the passenger side of Lewis’ car. A Haines City police officer who was off-duty at the time and out jogging came to the scene, and was told by the other driver that Lewis had seemed “disoriented” as she started walking away from the crash scene.
“The officer caught up to Ms. Lewis to make sure she was uninjured and to ensure that she remained at the scene,” Bruchey noted in his report. “The responding deputy reported that Ms. Lewis’ eyes were red and watery and that she stated, ‘I am in so much trouble’ and ‘I messed up bad.’ ”
There were no injuries reported.
Bruchey noted that Lewis has a prior arrest in Daytona Beach for DUI, and an arrest in St. Lucie County for DUI, Violation of Open Container, and Neglect of a Child.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book When I Woke Up, You Were All Dead. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.