STUARTS DRAFT, Va. — A construction worker allegedly sleeping off a drug high at Stuarts Draft Middle School caused a scare Friday when weapons were spotted in his vehicle.
Scott Musick, the school’s principal, said a teacher on bus patrol found Brent Painter unresponsive in his running vehicle in a bus loading zone around 7:45 a.m. When he opened the door to wake him, the teacher saw what appeared to be a rifle and crossbow in his backseat.
School officials notified authorities and the middle school, a high school next door and a nearby elementary school were put on a partial lockdown, while students who were arriving on buses and with their parents were diverted to an entrance on the other side of the school.
Deputy D.W. Fink, the school’s resource officer, told media outlets Painter told police he had smoked meth Thursday night and drove to work to sleep it off before his shift on a school sidewalk construction project.
Authorities discovered the gun was an unloaded, air-powered BB gun and there were no arrows with the crossbow. Painter told police they belonged to his kids, and they had left them between the seats after an outing the day before.
Painter, 28, was arrested and charged with public intoxication and obstruction of justice, both misdemeanors, Fink said. Painter will not face weapons charges. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.
Musick said several deputies responded, and Painter was handcuffed and in a police car within five minutes of their arrival. Still, he said students were held in their homerooms until deputies could search the vehicle and go through the school to make certain there was no continued threat.
Classes later resumed on a one-hour delayed schedule.
The incident came days after students returned from summer break, and on the two-year anniversary of an earthquake struck the region. Musick said teachers had reviewed crisis management procedures last week before school started, and that staff went over them with students on Tuesday.
“It worked about as well as it’s going to work,” Musick said of the school’s performance under pressure.
“It’s always scary when there’s somebody that poses a threat to your students, whether it is a fire or an earthquake or somebody in a worker’s truck,” he said. “When you’re a teacher, they’re all your kids and you do what you can to protect them.”
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