Prosecutors and the defense in the case of a Conestoga High School chemistry teacher found collapsed and allegedly drunk in the school have struck a deal. Under the arrangement the misdemeanor charges against Carol Wittschieben would eventually be removed from her record.
Defense Attorney Robert J. Donatoni of West Chester says his client is seeking medical treatment in the wake of being found on the floor of a Conestoga High School lab prep room in December. Police say she had a blood alcohol level of 0.32 when she was transported to Paoli Hospital for treatment.
Under the deal the charge of Endangering the Welfare of Children would be reduced to Reckless Endangering. Then if Wittschieben completes court order steps under a first offender program the charges will be withdrawn and her record expunged.
Tredyffrin Township Police had charged a 42-year-old 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, Carol 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.
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.
Details of the Plea Arrangement
Under the arrangement described by Donatoni the most serious charge, which is a class one misdemeanor will be withdrawn and replaced by a less serious, class two misdemeanor charge of reckless endangering. If Wittschieben meets all the requirements of a first offenders program (ARD) the charges will be dropped and her record expunged. If she fails to meet the requirements for the first offenders program the orginal charges would be re-instated. This is a common way for many first time misdemeanor case to be resolved.
Defense Attorney Says the Teacher is Seeking Help
In the meantime, Defense Attorney Donatoni says Wittschieben "is taking all the right steps to be sure this unfortunate event does not re-occur.
Donatoni added that she has received "dozens of unsolicited letters and emails" of support from students, former students and teachers "attesting to the character of this woman."
her attorney says Wittschieben has been on medical leave since the incident in December.