Wisconsin News

West Salem elementary principal suspended, taking leave of absence

John Smalley was cited for first offense OWI in February

WEST SALEM, Wis. (WKBT) - West Salem Elementary School Principal John Smalley is being disciplined by the school district for a recent alcohol related car crash.

Smalley, 49, was cited for OWI (1st offense) and hit-and-run for an incident on February 28 in Onalaska.

Onalaska police were called to the scene of a hit-and-run on February 28 at 2:28 a.m. at 4th Avenue N. and Locust Street. When an officer arrived, he noticed a rear-end damage to an empty vehicle parked on 4th Avenue.

The officer followed a dark trail of what appeared to be engine fluid to Smalley's Onalaska house about a mile away from the incident, according to the police report. When the officer arrived at Smalley's house, he noticed an SUV with major front-end damage parked with its right tires up on a snow pile. The police report states the driver's airbag was deployed and the windows were down.

Smalley told police he was driving home from downtown where he met some relatives for beers and hit a car, but he emphasized he was not drunk. Smalley said he called AAA and, according to Smalley, they told him to file a police report in the morning. Smalley told police he planned to report the accident in the morning.

Smalley's breath sample registered .150.

The school district released the following statement:

"Following an administrative investigation into off duty conduct by West Salem Elementary School Principal John Smalley, including an off duty alcohol related motor vehicle accident which caused property damage, Mr. Smalley was placed on a one-month unpaid suspension from
employment. In addition, Mr. Smalley has agreed to successfully complete any recommended treatment plan and adhere to a standard of behavior becoming of an elementary school principal.

Mr. Smalley will be on a medical leave of absence until September 22, 2014.
The West Salem School Board has taken this action in response to Mr. Smalley accepting responsibility for his actions and agreeing to successfully complete treatment. The school board believes if Mr. Smalley successfully fulfills his commitment to complete the treatment plan and
corrects his behavior, he will be able to successfully resume his responsibilities as principal of West Salem Elementary School."

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