JAMESTOWN, R.I. (AP) – Three teenage lifeguards were fired after allegedly being drunk while on duty at a town beach in Jamestown, town administrator Bruce Keiser said Friday.

A police officer discovered the three had been drinking Thursday at Mackerel Cove Beach, Keiser said.

He said 19-year-old Kristy Lebelle had driven to a convenience store with a fellow lifeguard and hit a curb and blew out a tire on the way back. Keiser said a police officer saw her driving erratically and followed her.

When the officer arrived at the beach, Keiser said he administered a field sobriety test to Lebelle, and she was arrested.

Lebelle was released after a court hearing Friday.

“I had a couple beers,” she told WPRI-TV after the hearing. “I was not falling-down-drunk intoxicated.”

The officer then spoke with the other two lifeguards on duty, who were both underage. After he smelled alcohol on their breath, he ordered the beach closed to swimming, Keiser said.

Thursday was overcast, and Keiser said only about five people were on the beach at the time.

“Drinking on the job when you’re in a public safety position is unacceptable,” he said. “We were fortunate that nothing occurred on the beach that put anybody in jeopardy.”

He said the town’s lifeguard staff has been cut in half, from six to three, because of the firings. While they have enough staff to keep the beaches open this weekend, they’re now looking for help filling shifts from lifeguards at the Department of Environmental Management and other communities.


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