A Douglas County judge's voice rose Wednesday while setting bail for an Omaha Public Schools teacher who stood before him charged with his fourth drunken driving offense.
"These things don't go away," said Judge Thomas Harmon. "You have to learn. It's as simple as five plus five is 10."
David B. Perilo had been arrested on suspicion of felony driving while intoxicated with a blood-alcohol level of 0.276, over three times the legal limit, according to an assistant prosecutor with the Douglas County Attorney's Office.
Perilo was arrested Jan. 4 following a collision with another vehicle at 120th and Blondo Streets, according to an Omaha Police Department arrest report. Officers said he tried to leave the scene on foot after striking another vehicle from the rear.
A defense attorney said Perilo teaches sixth grade at King Elementary, is a University of Nebraska at Omaha graduate and has strong ties to the community. Perilo bowed his head as a clearly exasperated Harmon said it's "past time" for the 30-year-old Omahan to get help.
"He's at a level now that he's going to kill somebody," Harmon said. "You've got to do something about this, sir. You can't go on like this."
OPS spokesman Todd Andrews said the district placed Perilo on paid administrative leave pending further investigation.
OPS employees can be penalized for drug or alcohol offenses that occur out side of school, according to school board policy.
"Employees are expected to serve as role models for students and will be considered to have violated the District's expectations in the event the employee commits a criminal drug or alcohol offense off the work place or off duty time," board policy reads. Penalties include being reprimanded, suspended, fired or being asked to go to rehab.
Perilo was awarded a state teaching license last June.
"The district cannot speak to the specifics of this case because it's a personnel matter — but OPS takes the employment verification process very seriously," Andrews said Thursday evening. "The district performs background checks on all employees as well as any volunteers who come into the district."
Court records show that Perilo was convicted of drunken driving in 2003, 2004 and 2009. Harmon set Perilo's bail at 10 percent of $50,000, meaning Perilo must pay $5,000 cash to be released from jail. The judge said he would consider reducing the bail amount if Perilo enrolled at an alcohol treatment center.
Perilo faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted of felony drunken driving.
Staff writer Erin Duffy contributed to this report.