Four people were arrested this week in Lawrence County after sheriff’s deputies busted two separate open house parties. Three of the arrests were adults who allowed minors to drink at the parties.
One of the women charged with hosting these illegal graduation parties knew some of the teenagers well. Investigators say she definitely should have known better.
Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Mitchell confirms Wanda Trapp Rutherford was arrested after complaints regarding an alleged post-graduation party at her home. Rutherford is a teacher’s aide at Hatton School.
Rutherford is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Sheriff Mitchell says she provided alcohol to a minor. He says ‘house parties’ where adults host and underage kids drink are dangerous.
“We’ve had a pretty strong enforcement on it, primarily cause we’ve had kids wrecking and getting hurt and we even had one killed, and because of that we’ve worked house parties pretty strong in the county,” said Rutherford.
Sheriff Mitchell says this is not the way to celebrate a graduation.
“We’re for the graduation parties. They don’t have to be beer parties,” said Mitchell. “They drink, they leave drinking and then we have a total disaster on the highways, and then someone has to be delivered awful, terrible news.”
As for Rutherford’s future as a teacher’s aide, that will be determined at a later date, according to Lawrence County School Superintendent Heath Grimes.
“We have a situation we’re looking into. We don’t take this lightly and we’re investigating it,” said Grimes. “We will do what we think is appropriate and what is appropriate for the people of Lawrence County. We will look, and investigate it like we do any situation.”
Rutherford was released on $300 bond. Ian Taylor, 18, was also arrested at the party and is charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol.