Greenback teacher facing 2 DUIs still employed

By WHITNEY HOLMES 6 News Anchor/Reporter

GREENBACK (WATE) -- Kenneth Wheeler, a teacher and head baseball coach at Greenback School has been charged with two DUIs in less than a year. But he's teaching at the school for now.

In July 2007, the Loudon County Sheriff's Department says Wheeler was arrested for DUI on Sugar Limb Road at Old Sugar Limb Road.

Then in March, Wheeler racked up another DUI  charge on Highway 411 south, near the intersection with East Coast Tellico Parkway.

But Greenback parent Bambi Walker says these aren't the only times Wheeler has driven drunk.

Walker says in March 2007, Wheeler crashed into her bedroom, causing a gas leak and an evacuation of 40 people who live in the area. The damage also put her family out of their home for more than 60 days.

"I am sure, if we would have been home we would have probably been killed," Walker says.

However, in this incident, Wheeler wasn't charged.

"The neighbor that pulled him out of the car said he smelled of alcohol when he hit the house. The sheriff's department didn't do a sobriety test on him," Walker says.

In the most recent charge, Wheeler said he'd only had Diet Dr. Pepper to drink, but when he took the breathalyzer, he blew a .13.

Wheeler's on probation at the school, but is still teaching. Superintendent Edward Headlee says that's because there's no indication Wheeler's actions affect his ability to teach.

But Wheeler won't return to teach next year.

Walker, who lives two blocks from Greenback School and has two children who walk there, thinks he should be terminated now.

"If he can't see enough to swerve to hit my house, then he you know, I'm afraid he is going to be too drunk and hit on of the kids," she says.

Headlee says if there are any further incidents, Wheeler will be terminated immediately. The school system has directed Wheeler to seek counseling.

A grand jury will decide on Monday whether to indict Wheeler on his first DUI charge. He'll also be in court in June for a hearing on his second DUI charge.