Susie Steinbeck, the girls' golf coach at Fairfield (Iowa) High School, has been placed on administrative leave after being charged with child endangerment and operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Steinbeck, 51, registered a preliminary blood-alcohol level of .212 last week, according to Lee County District Court records - more than two-and-a-half times Iowa's legal limit to operate a motorized vehicle.
Reports indicate Steinbeck was recklessly driving an SUV with her team aboard to a conference meet in Keokuk last Tuesday morning when Fairfeld City Council member Daryn Hamilton received a text at 7:19 a.m. from his daughter Liz, a member of the high school golf team, a few miles into the 60-mile trip: "Ohh myy goshh susie is going to kill us! She cant stay on the road! So in case this is the last time i talk to you i love you! :)"
Local media interviews with Hamilton and court records indicate that West Des Moines lawyer Steve Lombardi tailed the vehicle for several miles and called 911 before finally nabbing Steinbeck's attention at a traffic stop at the intersection of U.S. Highway 218 and state Highway 16 in southeast Iowa. At Lombardi's urging, she pulled over; a state trooper arrived shortly afterward. "Liz said the girls in the van had been yelling at Susie to pull over," Hamilton told The Des Moines Register. "They said a person pulled alongside them - a private vehicle - to see if something was physically wrong with Susie."
The Fairfield Community School District announced that Steinbeck, also a computer applications teacher at Fairfield Middle School, had been placed on administrative leave in a statement released Thursday: "The district understands the seriousness of the charges filed ... in Lee County Court against Ms. Steinbeck. Superintendent [Don] Achelpohl has been in contact with Ms. Steinbeck and expects to meet with her and her counsel regarding the incident as soon as possible. The district requests that the media please respect the rights of the girls on the golf team as they finish the remainder of their season."
The district also assured the public that "the safety of the students was verified and the district made arrangements for the team to continue on to Keokuk."