A top enlisted leader at the Marine Corps' school for new officers has been arrested after a suspected drunk driving incident on the evening of May 31 that sent two teenagers to the hospital.
"A Stafford woman was arrested last night after striking two pedestrians with her vehicle in Aquia Harbour," the Stafford County Sheriff's Office said in a press release Thursday. "Both 14-year-old pedestrians were airlifted to a nearby hospital to be treated for serious injuries."
Ryan Wilbur, a spokesman for the office, confirmed to Military.com on Friday that the driver was Beth Ellen Abbott. Abbott was a sergeant major assigned to the Marine Corps' Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, as well as a combat veteran with a Purple Heart, according to the Marine Corps and service records.
Maj. Danielle Phillips, a spokeswoman for the Training and Education Command, said that the Marines were “aware of the charges against Sgt. Maj. Abbott, who was relieved of her duties earlier this evening.”
Abbott's official biography said she was the battalion sergeant major of Combat Instructor Battalion. Though previously accessible, the page has since been taken down.
According to the Stafford County Sheriff's release, deputies responded to reports of two teens being struck by a car at around 9 p.m. on May 31 to Aquia Harbour -- a town south of Marine Corps Base Quantico.
At the scene, they found Abbott who "had glassy, bloodshot eyes, the odor of an alcoholic beverage on her breath, and admitted to consuming alcohol prior to driving."
Both the Stafford County Sheriff and Rappahannock Regional Jail records show Abbott was charged with one count of driving under the influence.
The statement from the sheriff noted that "both victims are expected to make a full recovery," but Wilbur said he did not have any updates on their condition.
Phillips said that the Marines were “coordinating with local authorities for their ongoing investigation during this difficult time.”
According to records provided by the Marine Corps, Abbott reported to the Basic School in 2023, and while she is able to wear the rank of sergeant major, she has not yet been officially promoted.
According to those same records, she is also a highly decorated combat Marine who has deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. Among her awards are the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, as well as many Navy and Marine Corps Commendation and Achievement medals.
She also served as a drill instructor at Parris Island, S.C., and the U.S. Naval Academy. According to the now-removed website, she served as a brigade drill master and 6th Company senior enlisted leader at the service academy.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a statement from the Marine Corps confirming Abbott was relieved of her duties.
-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.