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San Gabriel Valley Digest

Arcadia : Back to Teaching After Jail

April 11, 1993

Board of Education and school district officials say they will reinstate Gary Southworth, president of the Arcadia Teachers Assn., as a teacher after he serves a year in jail in connection with a drunk driving crash that killed a 21-year-old La Verne women.

Southworth, a teacher at Highland Oaks Elementary School, was sentenced April 2 to a year in jail and three years' probation. His sentence will begin Monday in County Jail.

In March, Southworth pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter without negligence and two counts of felony drunk driving.

Authorities alleged that Southworth's truck ran a red light in La Verne and broadsided Kelly Salamone's car Dec. 12, killing her.

Southworth's blood-alcohol content was between .12 and .14, police said. The legal limit in California is .08.

"We will endeavor to make it clear to (students) that Mr. Southworth's continued employment in the district is not in any way to be construed as approval of drinking and driving," Supt. Terrence Towner said.

He said the district cannot undo the tragedy and that it is the duty of the courts, not the district, to punish Southworth. He added that the teacher has been an asset to his profession for 20 years.

Debbie Ewing, a candidate in the school board election April 20, has called the district's position on Southworth an error in judgment.

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