‘I messed up bad:’ Polk County teacher accused of causing DUI crash

PE teacher had been drinking at party, deputies say

Kathryn Lewis
Kathryn Lewis (Polk County Sheriff's Office)

POLK COUNTY, Fla. – A Winter Haven teacher who had been drinking at a party caused a DUI crash on Thursday, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said the crash happened around 5 p.m. when 57-year-old Kathryn Lewis made a left turn from Eloise Loop Road onto Orange Manor Drive and entered the direct path of a Toyota Corolla.

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After the crash, the Toyota driver said Lewis wasn’t making sense, seemed disoriented and was trying to walk away from the crash scene, so the victim flagged down an off-duty officer to help, records show.

That officer assisted Lewis and brought her back to the crash scene, according to the affidavit.

Deputies said during the investigation they noticed that Lewis’ eyes were red, she smelled of alcohol, she had trouble maintaining her balance and she kept dropping things.

Lewis admitted that she had been drinking at a party before getting behind the wheel, adding that, “I messed up bad” and “I am in so much trouble,” according to the report.

Lewis, a physical education teacher at Jewett Middle Academy in Winter Haven, was arrested on charges of DUI and DUI with property damage.

Records show she refused to submit to a blood alcohol content test.

“We are so thankful that no one was injured in this DUI crash, but this is another sad example of a person in a position of trust making a bad decision. We expect more from people who not only work closely with children, but who are also role models to children. As such, they need to understand that they are held to a higher standard and need to behave like it,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

Deputies said this marks Lewis’ third DUI arrest.