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Former Magna Vista coach developing unfortunate track record


Joseph Beckelheimer

46 year old John Joseph Beckelheimer of Pittsylvania County must be having a dejavu moment.

The Reidsville High School science teacher, assistant football coach, and drivers’ eductaion teacher was charged with a DUI for the second time this past Monday in connection with a crash Monday afternoon on the Danville Expressway. The school system responded by firing him from his drivers’ education job and suspending him with pay from his science teaching and coaching jobs, pending further investigtation.

According to Virginia General District Courts records, Beckelheimer was convicted of a May 2008 charge of driving under the influence, but apparently North Carolina school officials were unaware of it even though he was employed there at the time.

You may remember Beckelheimer as the head coach for Magna Vista for almost 6 seasons. He was fired from Henry County Schools with 2 games left in 2005 after being charged with reckless driving and being drunk in public in another traffic accident. He was found not guilty of the drunk in public charge and the reckless driving charge was reduced to improper driving.

The bizzare wreck still cost him his job. Reports show Beckelheimer was involved in a wreck, left the scene, and then came back an hour and 45 minutes later with his wife and daugther.  There was never any explanation as to why he was not charged with leaving the scene of  the accident.  He claimed he drank after the wreck when he went home.

Retired Henry County School Sperintendent Sharon Dodson was criticized at the time for taking quick action against Beckelheimer in addressing it with the School Board. She responded at the time by saying “Our student athletes deserve coaches who are positive role models”

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