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Pa. teacher charged in felony DUI hit-and-run

A 54-year-old elementary school teacher in Luzerne County, Pa., is facing eight charges, including three felonies, stemming from a hit-and-run crash with a motorcycle earlier this month.

The Times-Tribune reports that the suspect is Kathleen Ann Beltrami, 54, of Drums, Pa. She is a language arts teacher at Drums Elementary/Middle School in the Hazleton Area School District.

The felony counts against her include driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, aggravated assault by vehicle and accidents involving death or personal injury.

She is accused of driving into the path of the motorcycle at an intersection on Sept 7, causing the rider to be thrown from the bike, the newspaper states, adding:

Witnesses told police that Beltrami exited the vehicle to ask the driver if he was OK and then left the scene.

The victim, Benjamin Minich, suffered a compression fracture to the vertebrae in his back and a dislocated hip.

A trail of automotive fluids led police to Beltrami, who was found unresponsive at the foot of a stairwell in her garage.

When awakened by police, Beltrami allegedly said she had consumed alcohol and taken a prescription medicine for depression, according to court papers cited by the newspaper.

Her blood alcohol level was found to be 0.23 percent.

Beltrami faces a preliminary hearing on Oct. 6, and she has a previous record of DUI charges and traffic offenses, according to the newspaper.

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