W.D. Smith Career Center principal arrested for allegedly driving drunk on 3 tires and a missing rim


Vermilion Parish, La. (KLFY) The school principal at W.D. and Mary Baker Smith Career Center in Lafayette was arrested over the weekend on charges of OWI, reckless operation and hit and run.

According to State Police PIO Thomas Gossen, Ralph Thibodeaux was travelling on highway 92 in Vermilion Parish when he allegedly side-swiped a vehicle and fled the scene.

A short distance later, police said, Thibodeaux then hit a second vehicle.

That impact caused a tire on Thibodeaux’s vehicle to come off , however it did not stop him from fleeing and continuing to drive on three wheels and a missing rim, police said.

He then struck a third vehicle on Hwy. 167 after his vehicle crossed the median.

That crash disabled Thibodeaux’s vehicle, Gossen said.

He was later arrested and charged with reckless operation, OWI and hit and run.

No injuries were reported.

KLFY reached out to the Lafayette Parish School System for comment on Thibodeaux’s arrest, but did not get a response.

Being he was named principal at the career center, Thibodeaux was a teacher at Henry High, Erath High and North Vermilion High.

He was also an assistant principal at Erath High and principal at Dozier Elementary and Abbeville High Schools.

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