Educator certificate suspended for Horry County teacher charged in deadly crash

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The educator certificate for an Horry County Schools teacher who was charged with driving under the influence after a deadly crash in Carolina Forest has been suspended, according to documents from the South Carolina Department of Education.

The South Carolina State Board of Education suspended the educator certificate for Michael Norman Oerther Tuesday, according to the documents. The state said there’s reason to believe “Mr. Oerther may pose a threat to the health, safety, and welfare of students and emergency action is required.”

Oerther was charged with felony DUI resulting in death after a crash Oct. 25 on Carolina Forest Boulevard killed 27-year-old Leza Watts.

Oerther has a history of DUI arrests, according to documents obtained by News13 last week.

Documents obtained by News13 show Oerther was previously arrested for DUI three times; once in 2005, again in 2009, and once more in 2011. He’s also faced a number of other charges, including driving under suspension, driving without a license, and use of a vehicle without permission.

Horry County Schools confirmed Oerther was hired Aug. 16, 1999, meaning all four of his DUI arrests in South Carolina took place after he was hired.

His certificate is suspended until the matter is resolved, according to the document. If he’s convicted, it may be permanently revoked.

Oerther is a math teacher at Ocean Bay Middle School and was placed on administrative leave last week, a spokeswoman for the district told News13.

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