Victim in hit-and-run questions school's actions
GONZALES - A woman involved in a crash with a teacher accused of driving drunk wants to know why the school she worked for let her leave, after determining she was unfit to teach students Monday.
"She hit me at 9 a.m.," Katie Guy told News 2. "That's what time it was, 9 a.m., Who's drunk at 9 a.m.?"
Guy said she's dealing with whiplash and body aches, as well as a damaged van, after the wreck involving Jaime Ingrassia. On Tuesday administrators at Ascension Christian Elementary School fired Ingrassia, who faces charges of hit-and-run, second-offense DWI, and careless operation.
Police said Ingrassia registered three-and-a-half times over the legal limit for alcohol when she was pulled over. Guy wanted to know why she was on the road at all.
"She slammed into the back of me and pulled off," Guy said. "She took off so I followed her, and chased her down Burnside in a park, and kept talking to the 911 operator the whole time until police could pull her over."
Authorities said this was Ingrassia's second DWI charge in the past six months. Investigators said she told them she had just left Ascension Christian Schools off Airline Highway.
"If they wouldn't have sent her away driving her own vehicle drunk, I wouldn't have gotten hit," Guy said.
News 2 tried to speak to Pincipal Brett Shelton at Ascension Christian about the incident, but administrators refused to do an on-camera interview. In an emailed statement they said Shelton realized Ingrassia was "upset" Monday morning, which is when she was taken out of the classroom.
The email said Shelton prayed with her and determined she wasn't in the proper frame of mind to fulfill her duties in the classroom.
"... at no time did Mr. Shelton see any sign that she was under the influence. She did not slur her words, she did not lose her balance, nor did he detect the odor of alcohol," the email said.
But for Guy, that's not good enough. She believes if Ingrassia was unfit to teach, the school shouldn't have sent her on her way.
"If that's what they knew, why didn't they call someone to get her and not let her drive off," Guy asked.
Ingrassia was released from jail on bond Monday.