Intoxicated man wanders into Florida high school classroom, takes seat, deputies say

Suspect rode bike past the campus advisor

PORT ORANGE, Fla. – A man suspected of being extremely intoxicated rode his bike onto a Port Orange high school campus Friday morning and meandered into a class room, taking a seat at an open desk, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies responded to Spruce Creek High School on Taylor Road Friday around 8:55 a.m. where the school resource officer had Derek Marlowe, 51, in handcuffs in the dean's office.

Marlowe was seen on surveillance video entering the school campus at 8:37 a.m. on his bicycle, riding past the campus advisor who was checking vehicles and students coming onto campus, according to the arrest report.

That monitor told deputies he was checking in vehicles when he saw the man enter onto campus from the exit lane. That person called the Spruce Creek High School campus advisor on his cellphone and informed her of the suspicious person. The advisor and the vice principal then began attempting to locate Marlowe, according to the report.

However, school staff were not notified "via school radio of the suspicious person and notified of a code red incident," the report said.

News 6 has asked the Volusia County School District about the security breach and if policy was followed.

"A lapse in security occurred at Spruce Creek High School on September 27, 2019. A man, with no business at the school passed the gate and entered a classroom. Security protocols were not followed. The Volusia County Schools Safety and Security team is carefully reviewing the incident with law enforcement and will better secure the campus to make sure all security protocols are followed," a statement from Volusia County Schools read.

Marlowe entered the school down J-Hallway where he "lingered while classes were in session" before entering C-Hallway and walking into classroom C-20 at 8:45 a.m., surveillance video showed. The report says the door was ajar because a student came back from using a restroom and did not fully close the door behind them.

The teacher told deputies he saw Marlowe walk into class but at first thought it was someone he knew. After Marlowe started asking about pictures on the wall in the classroom and taking a seat at an open desk, the teacher determined he was not meant to be there and activated his emergency button in the classroom.

While he was being taken into custody the school resource officer said Marlowe smelled of alcohol, was slurring his speech and unable to maintain his balance. Marlowe was combative, the deputy said, and made threatening comments. While searching Marlowe's pockets a small pocket knife was found, deputies said.

After Marlowe complained of chest pain he was transported to Halifax Medical Center. Medical staff said Marlow was under the influence of alcohol and was extremely intoxicated.

Marlowe's criminal record includes convictions for trespassing and arrests on alcohol and assault charges, according to the arrest report and jail records.

Marlowe was charged with trespassing on school grounds, campus disruption and disorderly conduct. He was placed on suicide watch at the Volusia County Branch Jail, according to the report.

Parent Robert Chalker said he found out about the incident on Monday night.

"I think that they should have more security. I think there should be security at each side of every door, just for the safety of our children," said Chalker. 

About the Author: