A nun who was accused of driving under the influence last year defended herself in court Wednesday while recounting the events that led to her arrest.
“I was in my habit in handcuffs,” Sister Kimberly Miller, IHM said during a court appearance Wednesday. “I’m a nun. I was in handcuffs. I was so upset.”
Miller was arrested during the early morning hours of Nov. 15 in Washington Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey. Police said Miller was driving erratically along Route 42 and backed her silver Chevy Impala into the front doors of a Meineke Car Care Center. Miller failed a field sobriety test after she was pulled over, according to investigators. Police also said her blood alcohol concentration was twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent. She was later charged with DUI.
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Miller told the court Wednesday she couldn’t remember anything about her arrest, which was captured on dashcam video. Miller said she has a history of sleepwalking as well as a painful arthritic condition that she takes medicine for. Miller claimed the condition keeps her from sleeping so she often drinks wine to help her get some rest.
Miller told the court she remembered going to an event at a Children’s book store then going back to her convent in North Philadelphia where she put on her pajamas, drank a glass of wine, took an Ambien and went to sleep. She claims the next thing she remembered was being at a police station in New Jersey and speaking to a police officer.
“I asked him where I was,” Miller said. “I asked him how I got there. I asked him what time it was.”
Witnesses and officers testified they spotted Miller driving erratically and that her speech was slurred, her eyes were droopy and they smelled alcohol after they stopped her car.
Miller is a teacher at the Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls in Philadelphia. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office of Catholic Education placed her on administrative leave last year pending the outcome of the investigation.
Students launched an online petition asking officials to let the well-liked sister keep her teaching job.
"She has helped her students blossom into the women they are today with her selfless devotion and dedication to her faith and job as a teacher," the petition reads. "In light of recent events, all of the positive things she has done should not be overshadowed by one negative wrongdoing."
The petition has over 2200 signatures.
A decision in Miller’s case is expected to be made next Wednesday.