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The Carthage Press
  • Board member apologizes for DWI arrest

  • Carthage School Board Member Dr. Mark Westhoff said he made a poor decision and he won't hide from it, but now he has another decision — whether he can continue on the board he's loved serving for a decade.
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  • Carthage School Board Member Dr. Mark Westhoff said he made a poor decision and he won't hide from it, but now he has another decision — whether he can continue on the board he's loved serving for a decade.
    According to a Missouri State Highway Patrol online arrest report, Westhoff was arrested at 3:33 a.m. on Sunday in Newton County for misdemeanor driving while intoxicated, failing to yield to an emergency vehicle displaying its lights and failure to drive on the right half of the roadway.
    The patrol said the traffic stop took place on I-44 just west of the 32nd Street overpass. He was taken to the Newton County Jail where he was released on bond.
    "It was a poor decision on my part, I'm not going to hide from it," Westhoff told The Carthage Press in a telephone interview. "It's the first time it has ever happened and absolutely will not happen again."
    The Carthage dentist has served on the Carthage School Board for 10 years, including two years as the board president from April 2011 to April 2013. Westhoff was first elected to the board in April 2004 and reelected to his fourth three-year term the board in 2013. That term will expire in 2016.
    Superintendent Blaine Henningsen said Westhoff has made the rest of the board and the administration aware of the situation, but at this point, it's a legal matter between Westhoff and the legal system and there's nothing more the board can do at this time.
    "It's a personal matter for Dr. Westhoff and the district is moving full steam ahead on our other matters, including planning a groundbreaking (for the early childhood center) and the bond issue," Henningsen said. "I will say that Dr. Westhoff has been an excellent board member and he's an asset to the community and we'll support him as he works through this situation."
    Board President Lee Elliff Pound also said she had talked to Dr. Westhoff, but it was a personal matter and there's no action the board can or should take at this time.
    Westhoff said foremost he wanted to apologized to the community.
    "I'm deeply embarrassed and mortified by the situation," Westhoff said. "With my whole heart, I'd like to apologize to the community and they can rest assured that this will be the only time this happens. I do not want this to interfere with anything the school district has going on regarding the bond issue or the early childhood center. My personal situation has nothing to do with that."
    Westhoff said he has not offered his resignation as of Monday, but that is still a possibility after he speaks with family, school administrators, other members of the board and his attorney.

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