A two-vehicle traffic crash in southeast Winter Haven on Thursday afternoon, February 11, 2021, culminated with the arrest of a middle school P.E. teacher for driving while impaired.
Arrested was 57-year-old Kathryn Lewis. Neither she, nor the other driver were injured in the crash.
The crash occurred at about 5:41 PMat Eloise Loop Road and Orange Manor Drive.
According to the preliminary crash investigation, Ms. Lewis was driving west on Eloise Loop Road in a white 2012 Nissan Sentra, while the other driver was operating a gray 2016 Toyota Corolla going in the opposite direction.
Ms. Lewis began making a left turn (south) onto Orange Manor Drive, failing to yield the right-of-way to the oncoming Corolla. The Corolla struck the passenger side of Ms. Lewis’ Sentra.
An off-duty Haines City police officer was jogging in the area and was informed by the other driver that Ms. Lewis appeared disoriented and was 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.
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.”
Ms. Lewis admitted to the deputy that she had been drinking alcoholic beverages at a party prior to the crash.
Following a Standardized Field Sobriety Test, Ms. Lewis was arrested for driving while impaired. She was transported to the Polk County Jail and charged with DUI (M1) and DUI with Property Damage (M1).
Ms. 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. 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.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff.
Kathryn Lewis’ prior criminal history consists of an arrest in Daytona Beach for DUI and an arrest in St. Lucie County for DUI, Violation of Open Container, and Neglect of a Child.
Any inquiries regarding Kathryn Lewis’ employment should be directed to the Polk County Public Schools.