Hillsborough teacher accused of letting minor drive car while she had open beer

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Freedom High School math teacher, accused of letting a 14-year-old drive her around, while she was drunk, is expected to meet with Hillsborough Co. School officials.

Police said Terra Virgin had an open beer in her lap when officers pulled over her vehicle.  The teen was driving.

“The adult that was in the car was quite inebriated and she was aware that the 14-year-old did not have a license,” said Steve Hegarty, with the Tampa Police Department.

Investigators said Virgin had five beers.

Detectives said she got a craving for Waffle House and believe she convinced the teen to drive her there.

“You can see perhaps what the thought process was,” said Hegarty. “Apparently, she had been doing some drinking, decided she wanted to go to Waffle House. Thought wisely that she was not in any kind of shape to drive, but getting a 14-year-old, who doesn’t have a license to drive, is not a good idea.”

The 32-year-old bonded out Monday on a $2,250 bond.

Experts say statistics for alcohol related incidents rank high in Hillsborough County.

“Alcohol related fatalities, alcohol related crashes, alcohol related deaths,” said Paul March, youth coordinator with Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance.

March believes the teen may have been pressured to drive Virgin and could have been trying to protect her.

“In a situation where you’re being pressured to drive somebody even though you may not be drunk, but too young to drive, that’s potentially endangering yourself and your future,” said March.

Virgin was not at Freedom High School Tuesday.

Parents whose children attend the school were concerned.

“This is supposed to be an A-rated school. We definitely don’t want that type of teacher in our school district,” said one parent.

She has been employed with Hillsborough County Schools since August 2013.

Virgin was only employed at Freedom High School for a week, but previously worked at Hill Middle School.

A spokesperson for Hillsborough County Schools said the Office of Professional Standards will determine Virgin’s employment status.  She will be required to meet with the office before returning to work.

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