Lowcountry teacher’s certificate reinstated after plea in DUI case

VIDEO: Lowcountry teacher’s certificate reinstated after plea in DUI case

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Lowcountry teacher is cleared to work in education again in South Carolina after she was charged with felony DUI and hitting a police officer three years ago.

Wendy Ellen Burnett was charged with the DUI in August 2016. That felony was recently dismissed for a lesser charge, according to the South Carolina Department of Education.

Burnett’s teaching certificate was reinstated Monday because “the felony offense was dismissed in consideration of a lesser plea” a Board of Education order states. “The State Board has no further reason to keep the summary suspension active at this time,” it said.

The crash happened on Aug. 13, 2016, at 2:30 a.m. on I-26 near Aviation Avenue.

Troopers said North Charleston Police Officer Andrew Turner had pulled over a van for a traffic stop.

Dashcam video from inside the patrol car showed the moment troopers said Burnett slammed into the back of Turner’s patrol car, hitting him in the process.

Turner was hospitalized and released the following Monday, but he had a long road to recovery ahead, according to the Tri-County Fraternal Order of Police at the time.

Burnett was arrested and placed on paid leave from her teaching position at North Charleston High School, according to Charleston County School District after the incident.

SCDE said in its emergency summary suspension of her teaching certificate that “Burnett may pose a threat to the health, safety and welfare of students” because of the serious nature of the allegations. Her education certification was suspended “until a due process hearing is held and/or the matter is otherwise resolved.”

This week, the Board of Education released an Order of Reinstatement, saying her teaching certificate was moved back to active status since “the felony offense was dismissed” for a lesser charge.

Charleston, Georgetown and Berkeley County school districts told us they do not currently employ Burnett.

Burnett’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

North Charleston Police spokesperson said Officer Turner is no longer working at NCPD and the department had no comment on the plea.

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