State board suspends educator certificate for HCS teacher accused in deadly DUI crash

Michael Oerther
Michael Oerther(Source: JRLDC)
Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 5:15 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The South Carolina State Board of Education has suspended a Horry County teacher’s educator certificate after he was accused of causing a deadly crash while under the influence.

Michael Oerther, 52, was arrested last week and charged with felony driving under the influence resulting in death.

RELATED COVERAGE | Investigators: HCS teacher responsible for deadly crash had three previous DUI arrests

Troopers said he was driving a Jeep Wrangler along Carolina Forest Boulevard when he crashed into the back of a Honda Civic that was stopped at a stoplight near Stafford Drive. Leza Watts, 27, was killed in the crash.

Horry County Schools said Oerther, who is a math teacher at Ocean Bay Middle School, was placed on administrative leave on Oct. 26, the day after the crash.

“The SCDE (South Carolina Department of Education) has reason to believe that, due to the serious nature of this allegation of misconduct, Mr. Oerther may pose a threat to the health, safety, and welfare of students who may be under his instruction, and that emergency action is required,” documents from the S.C. Board of Education states.

The board issued an order on Tuesday that Oerther’s educator certificate should be summarily suspended until there is a due process hearing or the matter is resolved.

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