Easthampton High School assistant principal Anne Beauregard on paid leave after drunken driving arrest
GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Anne Beauregard in 2009. Purchase photo reprints »
EASTHAMPTON — Easthampton High School’s assistant principal is on paid administrative leave after she was arrested on drunken driving charges in West Springfield late last week.
The arrest of Anne C. Beauregard marks the fourth time the school administrator has faced such charges and the second time in less than two years, according to a Gazette review of her driving record. She was last found guilty of operating under the influence of alcohol in 1986.
Beauregard, 51, could not be reached for comment Monday. She pleaded not guilty in Springfield District Court to a charge of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (second offense) and was cited for a marked lanes violation and for driving without a license. She is scheduled to appear again in court in March.
Easthampton School Superintendent Nancy Follansbee said Beauregard was placed on paid administrative leave Thursday, the same day West Springfield police arrested her in the early morning hours on North Boulevard in that city.
“She was put on leave when we learned of the incident,” Follansbee said.
She declined to comment further on the matter or on whether school officials were aware of Beauregard’s earlier arrests on the road.
Follansbee said a substitute administrator will be hired to assume Beauregard’s responsibilities in her absence.
Beauregard, of West Springfield, was hired in 2009 along with High School Principal Vito Perrone. She recently served on the high school’s Drop Out Prevention Committee and earlier spent 15 years in the Pittsfield public schools, including a stint as a director of alternative education.
West Springfield police said they found Beauregard in the driver’s seat of a black Mitsubishi Eclipse about 1:50 a.m. Thursday. The vehicle was facing south in the northbound lane on North Boulevard near Westfield Street with front driver’s side tire rim damage that an officer attributed to the car hitting the curb, according to a police report.
The car was stopped and running, according to Patrol Officer Sean E. Curley, who stated in his report that he found Beauregard with her head “bobbing around like she was lost or confused,” when he approached the vehicle.
The officer stated that Beauregard was having difficulty finding the button to roll down her window, and when she eventually opened the driver’s side door he detected a strong odor of alcohol on her breath. When he asked for her license, the report states that Beauregard was “slurring her words so bad that I had to ask her to repeat herself two more times before I understood what she said.”
When the officer asked Beauregard if she knew where she was, she replied, “Northampton,” according to the report.
The patrol officer at the scene reported that Beauregard had difficulty getting out of the vehicle and standing up. At one point she fell back into the vehicle while trying to get out, and the officer had to a catch her from falling several times once she was out of the vehicle, according to the police report.
“She continued to stumble to the rear of the vehicle even though she was holding onto it,” Curley’s report states. “When she reached the rear of the vehicle I had to catch her because she fell forward.”
The officer determined that it was too dangerous to conduct a field sobriety test and placed Beauregard under arrest. The car was towed from the scene.
Although West Springfield police charged Beauregard with a second offense for operating while under the influence of alcohol, the state Registry of Motor Vehicles automatically suspended her license for five years based on a drunken driving conviction in Ashburnham in 1986 and an earlier incident in Grafton in 1982, at which time her record shows Beauregard may have attended a “DWI alcohol program,” according to RMV records.
Her license was suspended for five years because she refused to take a Breathalyzer test last week and had two prior operating under the influence incidents on her record, according to the RMV.
Beauregard was found not guilty of operating while under the influence of alcohol in Brewster in July 2011, but guilty on a charge of negligent operation of a motor vehicle, which brought a 60-day loss of license. At the time of her arrest, she also refused to take a Breathylizer test, according to state records. The circumstances of that incident on Cape Cod were not entirely clear Monday, though Beauregard had been placed on probation until October 2012, according to published reports.
Dan Crowley can be reached at email@example.com.