By Nathan Johnson
The superintendent of the Yankton School District is expressing regret over a weekend incident that resulted in his arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Joseph Gertsema was arrested at approximately 1:20 a.m. Sunday after failing a sobriety test at a South Dakota Highway Patrol checkpoint about three miles east of Vermillion along Highway 50, according to Capt. Kevin Joffer, commander of the Sioux Falls district of the Highway Patrol. Gertsema was later booked into the Clay County Jail.
Gertsema, who has served as the Yankton superintendent for 23 years, contacted the Press & Dakotan about the incident Monday night.
"You have to take responsibility and own your problem. That's exactly what I'm doing," Gertsema said. "I'm terribly angry with myself, and it's going to take me a while to forgive myself. I want to apologize to my family and the community for my bad decision."
Although he had consumed alcohol, Gertsema said he did not believe he was over the legal limit when he made the decision to drive near Vermillion.
In retrospect, Gertsema stated that was a poor choice.
"People shouldn't drive after they drink," he said.
Gertsema said the Highway Patrol treated him professionally, and he cooperated with officers fully.
He added that he had spoken individually with all five members of the Yankton School Board.
A message left by the Press & Dakotan with school board president Chris Specht was not returned by press time Tuesday.
"There is nothing that anybody would say to me that would make me feel any worse than I already do," Gertsema said. "I'm going to own this problem, this mistake and this bad decision."
You can follow Nathan Johnson on Twitter at twitter.com/AnInlandVoyage