Mt. Vernon teacher, coach placed on leave following arrest

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FORTVILLE — Officials with the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation say they’ve placed a teacher and head basketball coach, Benjamen A. Rhoades, on leave following a recent arrest for driving while intoxicated.

According to court documents, Rhoades was arrested for driving while intoxicated in Shelby County on Monday, Feb. 20 shortly after midnight.

Court records show Rhoades, 44, 6200 block of Sampson Court, Indianapolis, had a case opened against him in Shelby County Superior Court 2 on Tuesday, the same day he was slated to make a courtroom appearance. Rhoades has been charged with a Class A misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated — endangerment. The charge carries up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

According to a probable cause affidavit, officials with the Shelbyville Police Department were called to the Indianapolis Casino, 4300 N. Michigan Road with a report of an intoxicated driver.

The report stated that casino officials noted a male, identified as Rhoades, had been “red carded” (asked to leave the casino and cut off from further alcohol) and that security there was actively following the man’s vehicle. The officer quickly caught up to the vehicle and watched it cross over the double yellow line twice, the report stated.

The officer noted in the report that the driver, identified as Rhoades, was pulled over and, when the officer tried to interact with him, the officer noted Rhoades had red and watery eyes, slurred speech and had the smell of alcohol coming from him. The report also stated Rhoades had trouble with his manual dexterity when asked to show his driver’s license and registration. Rhoades also had trouble opening his car door and fell back when trying to exit the vehicle, the report stated.

Rhoades was then given a field sobriety test and had trouble passing a horizontal gaze test as well as a walk and turn test and a one leg stand test, the report stated. Rhoades was also given a portable breath test that registered a .218 BrAC. In Indiana the legal alcohol limit is 0.08 BrAC. When Rhoades refused to give consent for a blood draw, officials arrested him, received a warrant and took the blood work needed, the report stated.

Officials from the MVCSC said in a release they received notice that an employee, Rhoades, who is a physical education teacher at Mt. Vernon High School, had been arrested recently and had been released.

“With it being a personnel matter, we have legal limitations and are not able to share anything further,” the release said.

Pursuant to district policy, officials placed Rhoades on paid leave while the situation is under review.

“Mt. Vernon High School staff will be supporting the classes and students impacted during his absence,” the release said. “Mt. Vernon will continue to stay committed to providing academic excellence for all Mt. Vernon students and will strive to ensure this situation does not alter an optimal learning environment for all students. We will remain diligent in ensuring nothing minimizes that priority while we provide support for our students and staff.”

The boys basketball team is slated to play Friday, Feb. 24 at home against Yorktown,

“Our assistant coaches will be overseeing the operations of our basketball program,” director of community relations Maria Bond said in an email to the Daily Reporter.