Portland School Board member Jenna Vendil pleads not guilty to OUI

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PORTLAND — A School Board member charged with drunken driving has pleaded not guilty.

Jenna Vendil, 30, of 38 Vesper St., was charged with operating under the influence on June 27 on the Interstate 295 Connector in Scarborough.

Vendil, the District 1 representative on the School Board, pleaded not guilty to the charge on July 29 in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court.

She did not respond to a request for comment.

Vendil’s dispositional conference is scheduled for Oct. 13, with a motion hearing coming on Oct. 29. The trial exposure period begins Nov. 16. She is being represented by Matthew Nichols, a criminal defense attorney who specializes in OUI cases.

Vendil was charged with criminal OUI by the Scarborough Police Department, but no jail time was requested, and her license has not been suspended. Conditions of her release are that she cannot consume or possess any alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs, and must submit to searches of her person, vehicle and home “upon articulable suspicion.”

Vendil was arrested shortly after 11 p.m. on June 27 after police observed erratic operation of her vehicle. She did not pass a field sobriety test or a breath test, and was taken to the Cumberland County Jail, where she was released around 3 a.m. on June 28.

Bail was set at $3,500, but was unsecured since she did not have a criminal history, meaning she only had to pay the $60 bail commissioner fee to be released.

Vendil publicly addressed her arrest at a July 7 School Board meeting, saying she intended to go through the legal process.

Vendil, who was elected to the School Board in 2009, is nearing the end of her second term. She has taken out nomination papers for re-election in November, but has not returned them.

So far she has one challenger for her seat, Josephine Okot of Danforth Street, who unsuccessfully ran for School Board in 2011.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.