TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Teacher: 'I just made a mistake'

Daily Photo Galleries

Butler Photo Galleries

Friday, May 3, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

A Seneca Valley Middle School special education teacher who nearly drowned when his car crashed into the Connoquenessing Creek faced a hearing on Tuesday on drunken driving charges.

“I'm not a bad guy. I just made a mistake,” a tearful Henry “Leo” Stefanacci said Thursday during a phone interview from his Zelienople home. “I'm just so embarrassed. It's tough on me and my family.”

Stefanacci had a blood-alcohol level of 0.12 percent, beyond the legal limit in Pennsylvania of 0.08 percent, when his car veered off Halstead Boulevard in Zelienople on March 3, according to a criminal complaint Zelienople police filed.

Four teenagers from the Zelienople area spotted Stefanacci's overturned vehicle and called 911. Firefighters rescued him. Stefanacci said he might have been in the frigid water for 40 minutes before help arrived.

In a March 21 interview, Stefanacci said he had been a nonbeliever but found God after his rescue.

This is the second time in two years that Stefanacci has faced drunken driving charges.

A judge sentenced him to serve a year of probation when he was accused of drunken driving in Cranberry on Sept. 4, 2011. Stefanacci in June entered the county's first-time offender program. He faced a probation violation hearing May 31 because of the latest charges.

Stefanacci, 48, is going through speech therapy as part of his recovery from the crash.

“It's going OK,” said Stefanacci, who is on medical leave from the district. “This has been a little bit of a setback. The stress isn't helping much.”

Seneca Valley Superintendent Tracy Vitale did not return a phone call seeking comment.

“I just want to teach. I just love to do that,” Stefanacci said.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Butler

  1. Butler community college opens 4-year degree options
  2. Hotel anchors Village of Cranberry Woods development plan
  3. City of Butler to lift summer concert alcohol ban
  4. With usage shrinking, Butler County senior centers ponder changes
  5. Special Butler school board meeting on consolidation requested
  6. Mars board hopes to hire superintendent by May
  7. Controller withholds housing agency check
  8. Rep. Kelly pulls offer to buy 40% stake in Butler Blue Sox
  9. Butler County to raise fees on defendants in criminal court cases
  10. Butler County man to serve 4 to 15 years for buying tainted heroin that killed girlfriend
  11. Department store manager seeks Butler County commissioner nomination