RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Today a Chesterfield County educator was not at school, but rather in court, after police say he crashed into several parked cars over the weekend.
According to investigators, Paul VanDeMortel then left the crime scene as people tried to chase him down.
On the Matoaca High School website, VanDeMortel is listed as a dean of students. We just got our hands on a mugshot taken after Richmond police arrested him Saturday night. Investigators say the 44-year old smashed into parked cars in the Fan.
People living on W. Grace Street say they saw the accident Saturday night around 9:30. A truck was damaged and one other car is totaled. Two other vehicles are missing pieces. Neighbors say they came out of their home when they heard a loud boom.
Janet Bachelder was home when her SUV was hit. "Somebody started chasing him down the street," said Bachelder. "And I think that might have caused him to run that red light."
Janet is a few payments away from owning her SUV. "He floored the gas and it hit my car right into the car in front of mine."
Police say they found VanDeMortel and his car at his Monument Avenue home, six blocks away from the wrecked cars. He didn't answer the door when we stopped by Monday.
"I think it's pretty hypocritical," said Matoaca High School sophomore Alex Carrasquillo. She and her mom say they no longer take him seriously. The former social studies teacher at James River High School is now charged with his hit-and-run and his second DUI.
"The first time might be a mistake, or something like that," said mom Missy Carrasquillo. "But the second time it's not. You're very aware."
The Chesterfield school system says it is aware of VanDeMortel's arrest and is investigating. He's worked with Chesterfield schools for 10 years.