The Ambridge Area High School JROTC instructor is on administrative leave and facing charges after a series of run-ins with police over the weekend that began early Sunday morning at the Ambridge American Legion.
Police said 1st Sgt. Carl L. Curtis is charged with public drunkenness and disorderly conduct, and more charges could be filed pending an investigation, according to Ambridge police.
Ambridge Police Chief James Mann said the chain of events started early Sunday when police were first called at 1:22 a.m. for a fight at the American Legion Post 341 on Duss Avenue.
As police were led downstairs, officers noticed blood in the stairwell and were met by Carl Curtis at the bottom of the steps.
The criminal complaint states that Curtis was “highly intoxicated” and bleeding from several small cuts to the back of his head. He told police his wife hit him in the back of his head with a glass that shattered.
An ambulance was dispatched to evaluate Curtis and his wife, who was found in the ladies room, bleeding from the palm of her hand, police said. She was treated then taken to the police station for processing.
After clearing the first call, Mann said police were called back to the Legion a second time around 2:15 a.m. A bartender reported an argument laced with "loud, obscene language" between Curtis and a woman identified as School Board President Mary Jo Kehoe of Economy.
Mann said Kehoe had arrived to give Kathleen Curtis a ride and engaged in a heated argument with Carl Curtis. Both were cited for disorderly conduct and advised to leave, he said.
Meanwhile, on her way to be arraigned at the Beaver County Jail, Kathleen Curtis warned police that Carl Curtis was supposed to transport 11 JROTC students on a field trip that morning to Grove City and she was worried.
“She said ‘He’s intoxicated. He’s probably going to try to drive those kids up there,’ “ Mann said.
Officers went to the high school and found Carl Curtis standing by his truck waiting. When Curtis saw police, Mann said he telephoned Master Sgt. Thomas Short, the other JROTC instructor, and asked him to come and drive the kids.
Mann said Carl Curtis was staggering, had slurred speech and glassy eyes, and was putting chewing tobacco in his mouth and drinking iced tea from a container as if he was trying to mask the alcohol smell. Police said Curtis was also behaving arrogantly toward officers.
Mann said Curtis was taken into custody and placed in a holding cell at the station for a couple of hours.
Mann said police are continuing to investigate after receiving a written affidavit Monday morning from a parent and student claiming that Curtis picked up a female student on the way and drove to the high school for the field trip.
The school district issued a statement Monday afternoon regarding the matter. Read the statement here.
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