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L.I. Crossing Guard Pleads Not Guilty To DWI Charge

Joanne Griffiths Was Charged With DWI Shortly After Finishing Shift Wednesday

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A school crossing guard pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Thursday — a day after being arrested for driving while intoxicated shortly after finishing her shift.

Police said they received a 911 call at around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday about a possible drunken driver in the parking lot of a Waldbaums on South Sunrise Service Road in Patchogue.

When police arrived, they found Joanne Griffiths, 58, in the store’s parking lot and observed that she was under the influence of alcohol, police said.

Griffiths was arrested and charged with DWI. Police said she had just finished working her shift at the intersection of Montauk Highway and Bell Avenue in Blue Point.

Sources said Griffiths’ blood alcohol content was .10. The legal limit is .08.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, Griffiths posted $10,000 cash bail and was released.

She and her family left court without answering any questions.

“I’m Joanne’s attorney, we’ve entered a plea of not guilty here and I have no further comments,” Andrew Wold said outside of court.

Griffiths is also being investigated for DWI in connection with an incident a day earlier, according to court papers.

Griffiths hit a car parked near the school Tuesday morning and fled the scene, according to a criminal complaint, Newsday reported.

Witnesses of that incident told McLogan that it appeared to be a hit-and-run.

The incidents have parents asking if the woman entrusted to keep their children safe has been drinking on the job.

“Unacceptable. Completely unacceptable and scary,” one parent said.

“Is she leaving her shift to go drink behind the building?” said another concerned mother.

“I don’t know that bars are even open that early,” said another parent.

“It’s a shock, especially when she had other allegations against her,” another mother added.

Griffiths has been a Suffolk Police Department civilian employee for 15 years. A substitute guard has been assigned her post.

Her employment status with Suffolk police will be determined by the police commissioner.

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