The Pierz Public Schools superintendent is facing driving while intoxicated charges after he was pulled over Monday night on Highway 371 in Fort Ripley allegedly having a blood alcohol level of 0.203, according to court documents.
George Stephen Weber, who was hired in 2002 as the superintendent in Pierz, appeared in court the following morning, Tuesday, Aug. 6, in Morrison County District Court in Little Falls. Weber, 56, Sauk Rapids, was charged with two gross misdemeanor counts of third-degree DWI. Each count carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine.
According to the criminal complaint, the Morrison County Sheriff's Office received several 911 calls at about 12:15 a.m. Monday reporting a driver was traveling south in the northbound lane of Highway 371 in Fort Ripley Township.
A deputy located and stopped the driver, who was identified as Weber. The deputy observed Weber to be very confused and showing signs of impairment, including bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech and an odor of alcohol coming from him, the complaint stated.
Weber admitted to the deputy he was drinking beer that night. Weber agreed to perform field sobriety tests, during which he performed poorly, the complaint stated. He submitted to a Breathalyzer test, which revealed a blood alcohol level of 0.203.
The deputy arrested Weber for DWI and transported him to the Morrison County Jail.
A statement attributed to Weber was posted on the school district’s website Wednesday: “This incident has embarrassed me, my family and my school district. I am terribly sorry. I am thankful for the many people who have reached out to show support. Although it is my first offense, I understand its seriousness. I will seek help in addressing the thinking and behaviors that led to such a risky and poor choice. I again apologize.”
The school board also posted a statement: “The Board has had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Weber to discuss both the incident and its ramifications. As a board, we recognize the long and successful history of work, dedication and commitment Mr. Weber has made to our schools and staff and students. We believe he will take the necessary steps to deal with this matter in an appropriate way now and going forward."
Before the statements were posted, the Pierz School Board convened a special meeting Wednesday morning that was previously scheduled to discuss personnel and other issues before the school year starts. In a phone interview, Board Chair Rick Sczublewski said the board discussed Weber briefly but still needs to consult with the district’s attorney before deciding how to move forward.
“We don’t really have anything concrete at this point,” Sczublewski said, adding: “It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.”
Weber was released from jail after $12,000 in cash was posted for his bail. The court accepted the bail as long as Weber agreed to make all future court hearings. His next court hearing is scheduled at 10 a.m. Aug. 19 at the courthouse in Little Falls.
Prior to coming to Pierz, Weber spent 13 years on the Mille Lacs Indian Reservation, where he developed and managed a complete child care through adult education system, including two schools and three community centers in outlying communities, the Pierz Schools website stated. In 1993 he was appointed as the first superintendent for the Mille Lacs Band and then led the design and construction of the schools that still exist today. He was charged with all staff hiring, building the curriculum and putting together a complete Pre-K-12 school system where none existed.