Report: Employee showed up to school drunk

Charlotte Sun (Port Charlotte, FL) – Wednesday, May 22, 2013


PUNTA GORDA — A school employee was charged with DUI Tuesday after she allegedly showed up to work so intoxicated she could barely get out of her car, according to the Punta Gorda Police Department.

Noreen Patricia Freeman, 57, 1300 block of Saxony Circle, Punta Gorda, was arrested in the parking lot of the Baker Center early childhood learning facility, on East Charlotte Avenue.

Charlotte County school district spokesman Mike Riley said Freeman is a community health advocate, which is similar to a school nurse.

Around 7 a.m., another driver had called police and reported that a gold-and-black car was driving ‘all over the roadway’ and had pulled into the Baker Center parking lot. When an officer arrived and asked Freeman to get out of the car, she ‘rolled’ out of the front seat and onto the pavement, then had to brace herself against the car to comply with the officer’s instructions, a report stated.

Freeman told the officer that she didn’t feel well. The officer smelled alcohol on her breath and observed she was slurring her words, the report said.

Freeman denied drinking that morning but said she had had a vodka and coke the prior evening, a report stated. She said she was taking Meclizine, an antihistamine, and had recently had arm surgery and was under a doctor’s care for high blood pressure ‘for, you know, blah blah blah,’ a report stated.

After failing field sobriety tests, Freeman was taken to the Charlotte County Jail, where her blood-alcohol level registered on a Breathalyzer test as 0.275, which is over three times the legal limit of 0.08. During a second attempt, she only pretended to blow, the report states.

Freeman remained in jail Tuesday on $750 bond.

Riley said Freeman’s case will be reviewed by the human resources department. She is unlikely to be terminated, but the consequences could be exacerbated by the fact she was arrested on school grounds, Riley said, adding the district will recommend that Freeman attend substance abuse classes.

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