Thursday, April 29th, 2010
Drugged coffee sickens teacher
Celina Police investigate incident at school
By Margie Wuebker
CELINA - A Celina Alternative Learning Center teacher is recuperating at her home after drinking coffee tainted with drugs at the school Wednesday morning.
Hallie Craven, 44, was rushed to Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater by a rescue squad called to the Celina Education Complex, 585 E. Livingston St., at 8:52 a.m. According to the Celina Police log, she was experiencing a severe headache and stroke-like symptoms.
Medical personnel subsequently identified foreign substances used in illegal drugs as the cause for her symptoms. She was treated and discharged several hours later.
School officials contacted Celina Police at approximately 11 a.m. after learning the likely cause for Craven's sudden illness. Together they searched the classroom and an adjacent office, finding a coffee mug and/or coffee pot containing what Superintendent Matt Miller called "a combination of illegal drugs, including some heavy-duty stuff."
Miller said he noted nothing amiss with Craven when he spoke to her earlier in the morning. Miller and Police Chief Dave Slusser would not confirm the type of substance found.
"We will not make any statement in regard to the drugs involved until the items we seized are analyzed by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification," Slusser said.
Police and school administrators interviewed approximately 18 students in the classroom that morning. Parents were summoned to the school and told to take home their children with warnings to watch for any suspicious symptoms.
"We did not know at that point whether anyone else ingested a tainted beverage," Miller told The Daily Standard. "Everybody who should be here is in class today and apparently suffered no ill effects."
The investigation is continuing to pinpoint a suspect or suspects responsible.
"We feel very fortunate we are not talking about a teacher's death today," Miller said. "We have some strong feelings who might have the means and methods to do something like this."
Once identified, the culprit or culprits will be punished in accordance with Ohio Revised Code statutes which include permanent expulsion. In addition, the superintendent will advocate those responsible will be punished to the full extent of the law.
Miller said nothing like this has happened before and he intends to make sure it never happens again.