LITHIA — A Newsome High School English teacher will be marked absent this week after deputies said she was caught driving under the influence with crack cocaine in her car Friday.
Patricia Rene Thompson, 50, of Valrico was driving on Bloomingdale Avenue near Highwood Road when deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop, officials said. But Thompson kept going, deputies said.
When authorities finally caught up to her, she refused to take a breath test, officials said.
Deputies said they found crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia in Thompson's car.
"It's troubling," said Hillsborough County school spokeswoman Linda Cobbe. "Extremely troubling."
Thompson, who has been a teacher at Newsome High since the 2004-2005 academic year, has been told not to report to work until the School Board acts on the incident, Cobbe said.
Thompson was charged with drug possession and DUI. She was released from jail Saturday, and records show she was transferred to an outside facility.
She will continue to be paid unless the board votes to suspend her without pay, Cobbe said. The board will likely vote on the matter during its Oct. 4 meeting.
This is the second time Thompson was arrested for driving under the influence, according to jail records.
In May 2010, she was charged with misdemeanor DUI, a charge Cobbe said does not typically merit any School Board action. Her blood-alcohol level at the time was recorded as 0.086 — just above the 0.08 limit at which the state presumes impairment.
With her arrest, Thompson became the second Newsome teacher jailed in less than a week.
Marketing teacher David Roland Daigle, 42, was arrested Sept. 20 and charged with aggravated stalking after he threatened a woman and traveled to Titusville to find her, according to an arrest affidavit.
Daigle, held without bail, remained in custody Monday.
"Fortunately," Cobbe said, arrests are "not common, but like any large business with thousands of employees, these things can happen."