A teacher who collapsed in a lab prep room at Conestoga High School allegedly told a Berwyn Fire Company medic that she is an alcoholic.
According to court documents, 42-year-old Carol Wittschieben, told EMT's that "she is an alcoholic who had been consuming alcohol throughout the day via a water bottle in her purse."
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed in Devon District Court a medic "detected an odor of alcoholic beverage eminating from Wittschieben." Before the teacher was loaded into an ambulance for the ride to Paoli Hospital another teacher who had discovered Wittschieben on the flood gave the Witschieben's purse to the ambulance crew so that she would have it at the hospital.
Police say the purse contained an 8 ounce Deer Park water bottle. The investigating officer told the court that both he and the Berwyn medic "detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage inside the bottle.
Tredyffrin Township Police have charged the Conestoga High School Chemistry teacher with one misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of children after she collapsed in an adjacent lab prep room while her AP Chemistry students took a test in a classroom. The incident happened at noon on December 10 inside the high school.
According to court documents filed in the case, Wittschieben was found on the floor of a lab prep room next to a chemistry classroom. According to allegations made in court documents she was "mostly unresponsive" when EMS and police first arrived.
In a criminal complaint filed by Tredyffrin Police in the case, Wittschieben is accused of having a blood alcohol level of ".32%" when she was taken to Paoli Hospital.
In the charging document filed with the District Court in Devon police allege that "given her level of intoxication, Wittschieben did knowingly endanger the welfare of her students who were under the age of 18 by violating her duty of care, protection and support."
The Tredyffrin Easttown School District posted the following statement on the incident on the district's website:
The District received notification from the police that criminal charges have been filed against Carol Wittschieben, a Conestoga High School Chemistry teacher. The charges arose from an incident occurring on December 10, 2012, during which Ms. Wittschieben was removed from the High School building after becoming ill at school during the student day. The District takes matters of student safety very seriously, and we have and will continue to cooperate with the police investigation. Ms. Wittschieben has been placed on leave pending the results of the investigation. The School Solicitor directed that the District is not able to comment on any of the specifics of the case; however, the District is cooperating fully with authorities. In addition, the District will notify the parents of Ms. Wittschieben’s students as to her replacement in the classroom. Please direct any questions to Kevin Fagan, Conestoga High School Assistant Principal, at 610-240-1003.
Wittschieben is scheduled to appear in Devon District Court on January 23.
Patch will have much more on this story, including more details on what police say happened in the classroom Friday morning on TE Patch.
Editor's Note: The allegations cited in this report are a matter of public record and do not presume guilt. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven otherwise through the justice system.