The principal of a Craigavon primary school has been convicted of drink-driving twice in little more than a month.
Theresa O’Hagan (44), the head of St Brendan’s Primary School, drove down the wrong side of the road and crashed into another car and fled the scene.
She appeared at Newry Magistrates Court last Wednesday where she received a suspended prison sentence and was disqualified from driving for three years.
The mother-of-four drove her Vauxhall Corsa the wrong way down Old Warrenpoint Road and crashed into an oncoming Peugeot with three people inside on November 15.
She was charged with driving with excess alcohol in breath, failing to remain at the scene of an accident in which someone was injured and having a defective tyre.
The crash happened at 7.15pm, about a mile and a half from her home.
The occupants of the Peugeot described her to police officers who then searched the nearby Cole Court housing estate.
After a few minutes they discovered O’Hagan on her own in an alley. She was breath-tested and found to have 108mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
Two weeks previously O’Hagan, whose address was given as Forest Hills in Newry, had appeared before the same court on a drink-driving charge over an incident in September.
She received a £200 fine and had 10 penalty points endorsed on her licence.
District Judge Eamonn King expressed alarm after he learned this was O’Hagan’s second conviction.
He warned her that she would be jailed if she appeared before the court again on a similar charge.
In a statement, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) said, “In line with current guidelines and protocols we will be working closely with the board of governors and the principal in relation to any issues that need to be addressed.”
The board of governors at St Brendan’s said they had been notified and were “taking advice”.
Their statement said, “Our priority remains the welfare of the pupils and the staff at the school and we are working to address any issues raised.”
The court heard that O’Hagan had been receiving treatment for stress and depression.
The Judge said, “It is by the grace of God that it is fortunate that she’s standing here and there wasn’t anyone seriously injured.
“It is clear that this lady has an issue with alcohol and it is out of control. She needs to address her alcohol problem before she does herself or anyone else harm.”