A Center Moriches middle school teacher pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges she drove while ability impaired and hit a parked car before taking off.
Tracey Forman, 47, of Waverly Avenue in Patchogue, had been charged Monday with driving while ability impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident. She was expected to be released Tuesday after posting $2,500 cash bail, her attorney said.
Witnesses said a car sideswiped a parked Plymouth Voyager about 8:30 a.m. on Brookfield Avenue, not far from Center Moriches High School, according to Suffolk police, and an officer searched the area with their description of the suspect's car.
He found a 2013 Hyundai in the parking lot of the high school.
Forman was near the car, police said, adding that she submitted to a breath analyzer test.
School district officials were not immediately available Tuesday for comment.
Forman's attorney, Daniel T. Driscoll, called his client a "good person" who is a 20-year education veteran teaching at the middle school.
She has valid prescription drugs, said the attorney, who did not have details on the medications and the allegation of drinking.
Police said it was unclear what drugs she was using at the time but toxicology tests are pending.
The teacher has no criminal conviction and her driving record has been "immaculate," said Driscoll, of Siben and Siben in Bay Shore.
Online court records show she was charged with petit larceny in December, and last month she got an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal.
That charge would have been automatically dismissed in August if she had stayed out of trouble, but Driscoll said he was optimistic of settling the new case and keeping the dismissal on the old one: "I think we'll be able to work out a fair disposition."
With Zachary R. Dowdy