CENTERVILLE — Police say a middle school principal was intoxicated when she crashed into another vehicle Sunday.

Karen Lynne Swanson, 54, of Centerville, was charged with operating while intoxicated and failure to yield. According to court filings, she was intoxicated when she collided with another vehicle at East Bank Street and South 18th Street in Centerville.

At 10:32 p.m. Sunday, the Centerville Police Department responded to an accident reported by Toyota Roadside Telematics.

In court filings, police said Swanson admitted to them on scene to having two beers approximately three hours before the crash. An officer who administrated a field sobriety test wrote in their report that “the [Swanson’s] balance was very poor.”

Police say a test at the Appanoose County Law Center showed a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.165, about twice the legal limit.

No injuries were reported in the accident, but it caused an estimated $5,000 in damage to each of the two involved vehicles, police said.

According to the accident report released by the Centerville Police Department, Swanson was driving southbound on 18th Street and was making a turn onto Bank Street when she collided with a northbound vehicle.

Swanson posted bond and was released from jail Monday morning. An initial appearance has been set for Jan. 11.

Kyle Ocker is the editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.


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Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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