For better or for worse, teachers are supposed to be role models. It can be hard to have so many eyes constantly looking up to you, but educators are expected to be on their best behavior in the presence of students. The last thing they should do is cause children harm.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened during a car accident in Mount Carmel Township, Pennsylvania, last week. A sixth-grade teacher driving in front of an elementary school struck five teenagers with his SUV around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. According to news reports, three of the teens were walking and the other two were on bicycles when they were hit. Three of the high school students were seriously injured and taken to hospitals, with one listed in serious condition the following day and the other two in fair condition. The remaining students were treated and released.

The 38-year-old teacher was suspected of being drunk when the accident happened. He’s been charged with five felony counts of accidental death or personal injury, five felony counts of assault by motor vehicle while under the influence, felony flight to avoid apprehension and five misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment. In addition, he was charged with driving under an alcohol restriction because police said he had two open beers with him when he was arrested.

It’s unclear whether the accident victims knew the teacher, but it must have been shocking to learn that the driver who hit them was someone whose occupation suggests he cares about students. If their families choose to file a personal injury lawsuit, he may instead be taking care of their medical expenses, regardless of whether he’s convicted of the criminal charges against him.

Source: CNN, “Pennsylvania teacher accused of drunk driving, striking 5 high school students,” John Fricke and Michael Martinez, March 29, 2012