Teacher faces DWI charge: Berryville band instructor due in court Monday

Friday, December 14, 2018

A Berryville school band instructor is due in court Monday in Fayetteville on charges of driving while intoxicated and careless driving.

Donna Vickers, 24, of Berryville was arrested after a traffic stop Nov. 9 in Fayetteville, according to preliminary police reports.

Officer Reilly Thurow of the Fayetteville Police Department writes that he was on patrol in the area of West Dickson Street and North Arkansas Avenue at 9:14 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, when he saw a gray Honda Civic driving westbound on West Dickson when it struck a curb. Thurow pulled the vehicle over at the intersection of West Dickson and North Duncan Avenue, according to the report. Thurow identified Vickers as the driver and noted that she had “very bloodshot and watery eyes and that the vehicle smelled heavily of intoxicants,” the report says.

“I asked Vickers how much alcohol she had drank that evening and she responded that she had consumed three gin and tonics (at) George’s prior to driving,” Thurow writes.

Thurow asked Vickers to step out of the vehicle to perform field sobriety tests.

“While Vickers was walking, I noted that she appeared unsteady on her feet,” Thurow’s report says. “I also noted that I continued to smell the smell of alcohol coming from Vickers’ person after exiting the vehicle.”

Thurow’s report says he administered a series of field sobriety tests on Vickers: the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn test and the one-leg stand test. Vickers failed all three, according to the report.

At the conclusion of the tests, Thurow writes that he placed Vickers in handcuffs and that Officer Jared Thurman arrived on the scene to transport Vickers to jail. Vickers’ car was towed at her request, according to Thurow’s report.

In a separate report, Thurman writes that he transported Vickers to the Washington County Detention Center for a breathalyzer test. Vickers agreed to provide a breath sample and the test was completed at 10:29 p.m., according to Thurman’s report. The test resulted in a reading of 0.14, the report says. The legal limit in Arkansas is 0.08.

Vickers declined a second test at her expense, according to Thurman’s report. She was booked into the detention center at 11:14 p.m. Nov. 9 on charges of driving while intoxicated and reckless driving. She was released on a $935 bond at 12:42 a.m. Nov. 10. She is scheduled to appear in Fayetteville District Court at 8 a.m. Monday, Dec. 17.

Ten days after her arrest, on Nov. 19, the Berryville School Board voted to award Vickers the head band director stipend and place her on an 11-month contract. That move, which was made on the recommendation of superintendent Owen Powell, came after the resignation of former high school band director Jim Nelsen. Vickers had been serving as middle school band director but also took on the high school band director duties after Nelsen’s departure.

On Thursday, Powell said the district is aware of the situation and it is being addressed. He declined further comment, describing the situation as a personnel issue.

Vickers did not return email and telephone messages.

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