English Professor Arrested for DUI
A University of Mary Washington professor was arrested Wednesday, Oct. 17, and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after her vehicle struck and damaged two students’ cars that night, Fredericksburg police said.
Professor of English Teresa Kennedy, 54, is scheduled to appear at a hearing Nov. 8 to answer the DUI charge.
Kennedy was arrested after a witness saw her car damage two vehicles parked along College Avenue across from the Chandler Hall parking lot, Fredericksburg police said.
Both cars belonged to UMW students, police said, and the left-side mirrors of both vehicles were damaged. Kennedy’s car also had damage to the passenger side-view mirror, according to Fredericksburg police.
According to Natatia Bledsoe, public information officer for Fredericksburg police, the department knows the identity of the witness, but is not identifying the person. The court intends to subpoena the witness, she added.
Kennedy declined to comment.
Fredericksburg police filed a report on the damage to the vehicles. According to Bledsoe, an accident report to be released to the owners of the vehicles was not completed in this incident because the damage to both vehicles was less than $1,500 total.
The witness contacted Campus police and provided a license plate number that matched that of Kennedy’s vehicle. Campus police later stopped Kennedy’s car at the intersection of College Avenue and William Street.
A Fredericksburg police officer in the area stopped to assist the University Police. Since the accident happened on public property and not campus property, the incident fell under the Fredericksburg police’s jurisdiction, while Campus Police called the owners of the damaged vehicles.
Fredericksburg police said they subjected Kennedy to a field sobriety test and blood alcohol test before arresting her and charging her with a DUI. They did not disclose Kennedy’s blood alcohol content.
Bridget Balch, a senior Spanish and English double major, owned one of the damaged vehicles.
Campus Police contacted Balch while she attended a contest on campus. Fredericksburg Police contacted Balch’s parents and informed them about the damage to the car.
A pickup truck parked behind Balch’s vehicle was the other damaged vehicle, said Balch. The owners of the truck informed Balch that Kennedy was in police custody at that time.
The police called Balch again later to file an insurance report on the damage to her vehicle.
“I’m just glad no one was hurt,” said Balch, who is also the associate editor of the Bullet.
Gary Richards, chair of the department of English, commented on the incident.
“Although it’s an unfortunate situation, Professor Kennedy will be fulfilling all of her teaching obligations to the department this semester,” said Richards. “She has been a valuable member of the department for a number of years and will continue to be so in the future.”
According to EagleNet, Kennedy will continue to teach her classes as scheduled for both the fall and spring semesters.
However, in an email sent to Kennedy’s advisory students, Richards wrote that Kennedy is not taking advising appointments at this time.
Penalties for DUIs are based on specific case circumstances and the guidelines for sentences for DUIs are therefore very broad, according to Bledsoe.
However, a DUI charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor with a mandatory fine of $250. In addition, the offender cannot drive for seven days after the initial arrest.
Fredericksburg police released Kennedy Wednesday night to a family member and on personal recognizance, in which Kennedy agreed to be present in court for the charges against her.