Diversion program offered to principal accused of DUI


Michele Erickson

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - According to reports, when Orange County Sheriff's deputies pulled over Edgewater High School principal Michele Erickson last August her blood alcohol level tested at nearly two times the legal limit.

An arrest report said the principal was stopped after she nearly hit a car.

According to the report, instead of pulling over, Erickson stopped in the middle of the road and then could not walk in a straight line or stand on one leg.

In November, a judge gave her the option of pretrial diversion, but she has yet to agree to the conditions.

The diversion would allow the charge to be erased from her record.

Area residents had mixed reactions about the principal being allowed to stay on the job.

"I think that's really irresponsible. And she is supposed to be setting an example for students. What does that show students? She gets away with it, the students can drink and drive?" said Debbie Sheehan.

"It's a first offense. I don't think that's an excuse, but they are human," said Julie Yeowell.

Gordon Roach recently graduated from high school and said he is concerned that a lack of consequences could make students think getting charged with drunken driving isn't a big deal.

"I think people should have a second chance, but if you are in that big of a position, and the students are looking up to you as an example," said Roach.

Orange and Osceola counties revised the types of drunken driving offenders eligible for diversion three years ago amid concerns it would not do enough to discourage drunken driving.