Teacher charged in DUI was on her way to school

Teacher charged in DUI was on her way to school

March 18th, 2011 by Mariann Martin in News

Murray County school teacher, Jennifer Zeigler.

Murray County school teacher, Jennifer Zeigler.

Document: Incident report

Incident report on arrest of Jennifer Zeigler.

ETON, Ga.-A Murray County middle school teacher told a police officer she was on her way to school when he pulled her over Wednesday for driving 28 miles over the speed limit and hitting another vehicle, according to a police report.

Jennifer Lynne Zeigler, 45, of Chatsworth, Ga., was charged with driving under the influence, speeding and following too closely and released on a $2,024 bond, according to the Murray County Sheriff's Office.

The police report states that Zeigler was "unsteady on her feet" and "stumbled while walking," but insisted several times she had to leave so she could make it to Bagley Middle School to open the school at 6:30 a.m.

Danny Dunn, personnel director for Murray County Schools, said Zeigler was not in school Thursday, but declined to say if she has been placed on leave during the investigation.

Zeigler is scheduled to appear in Eton City Court on May 10.

A telephone number listed under her name gave a busy signal Thursday afternoon.

Zeigler, who teaches seventh-grade language arts, has been with the school system for about 26 years, Dunn said. The school system does not have a policy regarding DUI arrests, he said, but handles such incidents on a case-by-case basis.

The school is doing an investigation to determine what happened and what actions should be taken, Dunn said. He declined to provide additional information.

An Eton police officer pulled over Zeigler at 6:14 a.m. Wednesday after he clocked her 2010 Nissan Altima doing 63 mph in a 35 mph zone on U.S. Highway 411, the report says.

Before the officer pulled Zeigler over, she hit a truck stopped at a red light and nearly hit another vehicle as she turned onto Georgia Highway 286, the report says.

After she got out of her car, the officer noted on the report that "her eyes were bloodshot and that her speech was slurred." Zeigler told the officer she had not been drinking, the report says.

When asked to do a field sobriety test, Zeigler failed to stand on one foot or walk heel to toe, the report says. She agreed to take a breathalyzer test, which showed positive for alcohol, the report says.

Zeigler then agreed to take a urine test and was taken to Murray Medical Center. When medical personnel gave her a cup for the urine test, she filled it once with water from the toilet and once with water from the sink, the report says.

She eventually provided a urine sample using a catheter, the report says.

Eton Police Chief Brent Hooper said Thursday that the sample was sent to the Georgia crime lab for testing and it likely would take more than a month to receive results.

Zeigler did not have a prior driving record in Eton, Hooper said. Murray County court records did not show any previous driving violations.