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Report: School district seeks new leader for Yelm High School after principal was arrested for DUI

When is it OK to drive after drinking? Impaired judgment makes it hard to tell

Officer George Clark talks about a St. Patrick's Day DUI emphasis patrol that took place throughout Thurston County.
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Officer George Clark talks about a St. Patrick's Day DUI emphasis patrol that took place throughout Thurston County.

Yelm Community Schools will search for a new principal to lead Yelm High School after its former principal, Ryan Akiyama, was arrested last month on suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of a deadly weapon, according to the Nisqually Valley News.

Superintendent Brian Wharton told the newspaper last week the district expects to have a new principal before the end of the school year. He added that Akiyama “will likely take a teaching position with the district in the fall.”

“I ultimately made the decision that the information was such that trust was broken and we had to go in a different direction with respect to leadership at the high school,” Wharton told the paper. “The process of adjudication could take years. Do you want that to be the focus at the high school, or do you want the students and their learning to be the focus?”

Akiyama is on administrative lead until his contract ends in June. Before then, Wharton said Akiyama will be doing some work with the district’s office of teaching and learning, according to the paper.

According to the Nisqually Valley News:

Just after midnight April 28, a Washington State Patrol trooper pulled Akiyama over in downtown Olympia after he passed the trooper without his headlights on. He also was driving 10 miles per hour over the 25 mph speed limit, the trooper reported.

After he got out of the car, he allegedly told the trooper he’d had 3-4 drinks since 6 p.m.

The trooper reported Akiyama nearly fell down more than once during a field sobriety test, and the trooper found brass knuckles in one of Akiyama’s pockets.

Three other people were in the vehicle and someone had vomited down the side of it, the paper reports.

Akiyama was taken to the Olympia Police Department for blood alcohol tests, which produced results of 0.123, 0.124, 0.125 and 0.128, according to the paper. The legal limit for driving in Washington state is 0.08.

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