A soon-to-be sergeant major was fired from her position as the top enlisted Marine for a Quantico, Virginia, training battalion after she was charged with striking two teenagers Wednesday night with her car while under the influence.
Marine 1st Sgt. Beth Ellen Abbott, 39, faces one count of driving under the influence, two counts of maiming while driving under the influence and one count of possession of a controlled substance.
Abbott “had glassy, bloodshot eyes, the odor of an alcoholic beverage on her breath, and admitted to consuming alcohol prior to driving” when police responded to the scene in Stafford, Virginia, after a report that two pedestrians had been struck, according to a news release by the Stafford County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office.
Abbott was relieved of her position Friday as the senior enlisted leader of the combat instructor battalion at The Basic School, Maj. Danielle Phillips, a Marine spokeswoman, confirmed in a Monday statement to Marine Corps Times.
The Basic School is the Corps’ officer training institution, at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, also in Stafford County.
After the incident, Abbott remained on the scene, the release stated.
Aquia Harbour, Virginia, police charged Abbott with driving under the influence and she was held at Rappahannock Regional Jail without bond, according to the release.
Although the news release provided no names, sheriff’s office spokesman Ryan Wilbur confirmed to Marine Corps Times and other outlets that the suspect was Abbott.
The two 14-year-old pedestrians were airlifted to a nearby hospital to get treatment for “serious injuries,” according to the press release, which added that the teens were “expected to make a full recovery.”
The following day, Abbott was arrested again on three more counts. Stafford County, Virginia, sheriffs investigated the crash and determined that two counts of maiming while driving under the influence were appropriate, according to Wilbur.
“As they were serving the two new warrants, suspected controlled substances were located within the vehicle she was driving during the crash,” Wilbur stated to Marine Corps Times.
Abbott was also charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance and was held on a $6,000 secured bond, according to Wilbur. Alcohol is not a controlled substance under U.S. law.
Virginia’s Rappahannock Regional Jail did not list Abbott as a current inmate as of Monday.
Abbott is a “frocked” sergeant major, according to information from her service record, provided by Phillips. That meant Abbott was wearing the uniform and taking on the duties of the E-9 paygrade but technically was still an E-8 as she awaited an official promotion.
She enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2003, and has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, according to her service record.
Abbott’s awards include one Purple Heart, six Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, two Combat Action Ribbons, six Good Conduct Medals, two Iraq Campaign Medals, and a Drill Instructor Ribbon.
The Marine Corps is “aware of the charges” against Abbott and is “coordinating with local authorities for their ongoing investigation during this difficult time,” Phillips said.
Marine Corps Times attempted to reach out to Abbott via an email address she has been linked to but did not receive a response by time of publication.
Wilbur said Monday the teens were still recovering from their injuries, as of the last update he had.
“The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is praying for a speedy recovery for both juveniles,” Wilbur said in a statement to Marine Corps Times.
Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.