A former headmaster of Isidore Newman School was arrested last week outside Sacramento, California, after he was caught in a hotel room with an array of illegal drugs and an unconscious 21-year-old woman, authorities said.
Thomas “Woody” Price, 54, resigned his post as head of the Branson School in nearby Ross, California, after being booked Friday on three felony counts.
Authorities said they found cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and prescription drugs inside a hotel room Price had rented in Rancho Cordova.
Price, who came to New Orleans from a school in suburban Philadelphia, served at the helm at Newman, one of New Orleans’ most prestigious private schools, from 2005 to 2007, when he took over at Branson, a college preparatory school north of San Francisco.
Sgt. Jason Ramos, a spokesman for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, said authorities there received a call Friday morning from a man who believed Price was giving drugs to his girlfriend, 21-year-old Brittney Hall. He provided investigators with Price’s name and said he believed he was staying at the Hyatt Place in Rancho Cordova.
“He wanted us to go check on her because he didn’t think she was OK,” Ramos said.
Authorities responded to Price’s room and, after he opened the door, spotted Hall lying on a bed, unresponsive. “They went up to her, called her name, touched her and she came to,” Ramos said. “While (investigators) were in the room, in plain sight, they observed a number of different controlled substances.”
Price and Hall were booked with possession of narcotics, possession of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine for sale, Ramos said. Hall was in custody Tuesday, while Price posted bail Saturday. He’s to appear in court next month.
In a letter to parents, the chairman of Branson’s board of trustees said Price resigned “before anyone could speak with him about the incident.”
“The news of Woody Price’s arrest is so bizarre as to defy logical explanation,” the board chairman, David Golden, wrote in the letter. “I can only say that the first time any Branson employee or trustee knew of his arrest was when the local media descended on the campus at about noon on Monday.”
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