Former Valdez School District employee charged with DUI, endangering welfare of child

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — A Valdez School District employee was arrested and charged with DUI and endangering the welfare of a child in November after allegedly driving a school vehicle drunk to provide transportation to a 12-year-old student.

According to a criminal complaint obtained by a records request by KTUU, on the morning of Nov. 6, Valdez School District employee Melissa Bowden reportedly showed up at the school district office and picked up keys to a school vehicle with a strong odor of alcohol coming off of her around 8:30 a.m.

Bowden allegedly drove away in the school's suburban to pick up a 12-year-old student, which she then drove to Safeway.

Around that time, a Valdez police officer intercepted Bowden outside the Safeway entrance, where she had been stopped by the Gilson Middle School Principal, who was trying to keep Bowden from leaving the scene, and had arranged other transportation for the student.

Bowden told police at the scene that she picked up and drove the student to Safeway, and denied having drank alcohol that day or the day before.

Officers conducted a field sobriety test, which Bowden "performed poorly on," according to the complaint.

A preliminary breath test registered a BrAC of .198 — more than double the legal limit. Bowden was arrested and taken to Valdez Jail.

After 15 minutes of observation, Bowden submitted to a breathalyzer registering a result of BrAC of .265.

She was charged with DUI and endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree — both class A misdemeanors.

In a statement to Channel 2, Valdez School District Superintendent Shawn Arnold confirmed that Bowden was employed by the school district for four months. Her employment was terminated on Dec. 6, according to the statement.

"Valdez City Schools was disappointed to learn of the charges filed against Melissa Bowden by the Valdez Police Department," Arnold said. "The District has cooperated with the Valdez Police Department in its investigation of Ms. Bowden and hope Ms. Bowden receives the help she needs."

Arnold added that the school district is reviewing its hiring policies.