Naperville woman who drove drunk on school grounds sentenced - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Naperville woman who drove drunk on school grounds sentenced

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A west suburban woman who crashed her sport utility vehicle last year in the parking lot of a public school just minutes before classes were to be dismissed has been convicted of drunken driving in that case.

Melinda S. Panzer pleaded guilty Feb. 27 in DuPage County Circuit Court to a charge of DUI with a blood-alcohol content of .08 or more. That followed an April 19, 2012 traffic crash outside Kennedy Junior High School in Lisle.

Judge Richard D. Russo accepted Panzer's plea, court records showed. Russo on Wednesday ordered Panzer to perform 100 hours of community service work, placed her on two years of supervision and assessed unspecified fines and court costs as her penalties, records indicated.

Companion charges of DUI and improper lane usage/changing lanes unsafely were dismissed in exchange for Panzer's plea, according to records.

Panzer, 47, lives on the 900 block of Norwood Avenue east of the Hobson Bailey Woods area of Naperville. The crash occurred about 2:27 p.m. in the parking lot of the school, located at 2929 Green Trails Drive.

Lisle police Watch Cmdr. Ron Wilke said last year Panzer was alone in her Saab 97X SUV when she drove over a curb, struck a traffic sign and then crashed into an unoccupied vehicle in the parking lot. The Saab's front bumper and license plate dislodged and fell to the pavement upon impact, and the SUV continued traveling before stopping in another part of the lot, Wilke said.

The police school resource officer went outside after a faculty member told him of the crash. Wilke said the officer administered sobriety tests to Panzer before arresting her for driving drunk.

Wilke did not say why Panzer was at the school at the time. Susan E. Rice, spokeswoman for Naperville Community Unit School District 203 said Panzer was not a district employee.

"At that point in time, there were no students in the lot and no students to witness the driving or the erratic behavior," Rice said last year.

Classes were within five or 10 minutes of dismissal as the resource officer was taking Panzer into custody and removing her from the campus. Rice stressed "students were not endangered by this incident at any time."

Court records showed Panzer has received several past traffic tickets. She was also placed on supervision and fined after being found guilty of a September 2009 charge of misdemeanor battery in Warrenville, records indicated.

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