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Center Moriches teacher pleads not guilty after DWAI, hit-and-run arrest

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A Long Island teacher left court in tears on Tuesday after pleading not guilty to charges alleging she was drunk and high on drugs when police say she crashed into a parked car and fled the scene – only to be apprehended in the parking lot of Center Moriches High School.

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Tracey Forman, 47, of Patchogue, would not comment after posting $2,500 bail following her arraignment on charges of driving while ability impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident. Her attorney, Daniel Driscoll told Suffolk District Court Judge Paul Hensley his client has “very strong ties to the community,” noting her sister and other family members showed up for the court proceeding. Forman’s relatives and her lawyer declined to comment on the charges after the arraignment.

In court Tuesday, prosecutors said Forman told a police officer she had taken “anxiety and depression medication” around 7 a.m. and admitted to drinking alcohol the night before. “I think I should not have been driving,” she told an officer, according to court documents. “I had two shots last night.” Prosecutors also said when cops caught up with Forman, in the parking lot of Center Moriches High School, she allegedly told them: “I hit a pole around Wading River, I think.”

Police said Forman had actually crashed her 2013 Hyundai into an unoccupied minivan – causing property damage – on Brookfield Avenue in Center Moriches before allegedly fleeing the scene. A responding police officer was able to obtain a description of her car and began canvassing the area before finding Forman standing next to her car in the rear parking lot of Center Moriches High School on Forwein Road around 8:30 a.m., cops said.

Forman, a teacher in the Center Moriches School District, was arrested at the school and taken to the Seventh Precinct in Shirley for processing. The school district’s superintendent, Russell Stewart, did not return a call for comment. At the police precinct, Forman consented to a portable breath test and a blood-draw for a toxicological analysis, according to court documents. At 11:23 a.m., her blood-alcohol-content was .07 percent, the court papers said. The blood results were still pending, as of Tuesday afternoon.

Court records show Forman was arrested last December on a petit larceny charge for allegedly shoplifting more than $300 in merchandise from a department store in Lake Grove. Prosecutors offered to dismiss that case as long as Forman didn’t get arrested again until August. It was not clear Tuesday if Forman’s latest brush with the law would lead to that case being reopened.