A former Round Lake High School teacher pleaded guilty Tuesday to being in possession of drug paraphernalia during a traffic stop, a Lake County prosecutor said.
Gina Epps, 39, a former physical education teacher from Round Lake Area Unit District 116, was sentenced to one year of supervision by Judge David Brodsky, Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Tyler Dyson said. Epps also was fined $750, must participate in a four-hour substance abuse class and is not allowed to have alcohol or illegal drugs for one year, officials said.
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Epps, who lives in the 700 block of Morris Court in Lakemoor, was charged Jan. 29 after she was pulled over during a traffic stop while on her lunch break from school, authorities said. Epps was driving alone in a 2009 Chevrolet Impala when she was stopped at 11:32 a.m. near Long Lake and Valentin drives, not far from Round Lake High School, police said.
During the stop, the officer recognized a strong marijuana odor from Epps' car, but Epps denied smoking any pot, police said. Officers found 1.5 grams of marijuana in a plastic bag, and two marijuana pipes and two packages of rolling papers, police said.
She was later charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, but Dyson said the other charges were dropped in lieu of a plea deal.
During the traffic stop, Epps also told officers she was a marijuana activist and had a bracelet with a marijuana leaf charm and stickers bearing pot plant images in the car.
Epps was a Round Lake High physical education teacher since Aug. 11, 2005, but resigned after her arrest became public in January. Her resignation agreement with the district was approved by the District 116 school board on Feb. 25.