Waterbury Teacher Charged With DUI in New Haven Thursday Morning

A teacher at a Waterbury elementary school was arrested Thursday morning in New Haven and charged with driving under the influence, as well as additional charges. 

New Haven police said Jessenia Figueroa was arrested in the area of Middletown Avenue around 7 a.m. Thursday. 

According to the police report, an off-duty police officer noticed Figueroa's car weaving in and out of traffic, almost hitting several other cars, and called New Haven Police. The Hartford officer said the car stopped in a travel lane on Middletown Avenue, and he tried to approach the driver. He said when he did, he smelled alcohol on her breath.

The responding New Haven officer wrote in the report that Figueroa refused to comply with police orders and slipped out of her handcuffs multiple times. The officer wrote that the suspect failed field sobriety tests.

Police said at the station she continued to argue with officers and medical personnel.

"Figueroa became belligerent even with medical staff trying to help her, not answering their questions, refusing to give her name or date of birth, and cursing at them as well," the report reads.

A statement from Waterbury Public Schools says Figueroa is a Pre-K teacher at Sprague Elementary School and the superintendent’s office was made aware of the arrest this morning. 

Figueroa was charged with driving under the influence, interfering with an officer, failure to drive in the proper lane and having no car insurance. She was issued a promise to appear. 

Parents said the arrest makes them worry about who is teaching their children.

"I wouldn’t want her in a position like that with a teacher that’s coming drunk to school. What kind of teaching she’s going to give her? To drink? Its not good, its not good. Its very scary," Jacqueline DelValle of Waterbury said.

She has been with the District since Aug. 29, 2018, a statement from Waterbury schools says. 

“Our teachers, our administrators and all of us at central office hold positions of public trust and are expected to serve as role models for our students. That includes the exercise of good judgment. The District continues to review the facts and circumstances related to this alleged conduct and will evaluate its options and obligations with respect to this matter. As this is a Personnel matter, the District will have no further comment at this time,” the statement from Waterbury Public Schools says. 

Figueroa was released from police custody on a promise to appear. NBC Connecticut called the phone number listed for Figueroa on the police report. The person who answered said they were meeting with their lawyer and declined further comment.

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