ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KPLR) – School`s been out for a few days but parents and students in the Ritenour School District were just hearing alarming news about Asst. Principal, Chris Clark, 35, of Overland.
Clark has been wearing an alcohol monitoring bracelet, even to school.
Clark has admitted that back in the fall, just after the school year started, he was drunk when crashed into a utility pole Dorsett Road near Pinehurst Place in Maryland Heights and left the scene.
He pleaded guilty May 1st to misdemeanor DWI and misdemeanor leaving the scene. The “leaving the scene” charge was downgraded from a felony.
A judge ordered Clark to wear an ankle bracelet that can sense whether you’ve been drinking alcohol through your skin.
Clark has to wear it for 90 days.
He’s the Asst. Principal at Ritenour’s Reentry Center for troubled student’s grades 6-through-12, which is in the north wing of Hoech Middle School in St. Ann. He’s also served as dean of students at Ritenour High.
A school district spokesman issued the following statement:
“We are aware that a Ritenour School District employee is wearing a monitoring device as a result of a misdemeanor offense. Because this is a personnel matter, we cannot provide additional details.”
There was no word whether Clark faced disciplinary action from the district.
A court document from the Maryland Heights Police Department said Clark’s vehicle had a shattered windshield and two flat tires after the crash; his blood alcohol content was .171, more than twice the legal limit.
Parents and students wished the district had informed them about the case but said they stood by Clark
“They haven`t had any other issues with him that I`m aware of, so I don`t think one thing she lead to him being fired or anything like that,” said Ritenour parent, Valerie Fipps.
“If he got arrested, I understand he made a mistake. But he belongs in that school district. He`s a big teacher, a big instructor. We really love him. All of the students, not just me,” said her son Jeremy Fipps, who just graduated from Ritenour High School. “I wouldn’t have graduated if it wasn’t for him. I could come to him for everything. I had problems my freshman and sophomore year, bad grades. He helped me through all of it. All my grades are straight and I’m set for college… he really changed my life. I really appreciate that man.”
Clark received a suspended sentence and 2 years’ probation and must attend an alcohol awareness/abuse program.
A judge also ordered Clark to pay Ameren Missouri more than $14,000 for property damage.
Clark still has a valid Missouri driver’s license; no restrictions.