Berkeley teacher of the year returns Jeep given as prize because of fee mix-up

Emily Reichbach (Provided)

Berkeley County's 2018 Teacher of the Year says some confusion over fees meant she had to give back a new vehicle she got as a prize for her accomplishment.

Emily Reichbach was presented a 2019 Jeep from Rick Hendrick Jeep-Chrysler-Dodge in North Charleston after winning the Berkeley County School District's Teacher of the Year. She says she assumed the vehicle essentially was free.

But Reichbach said in a now deleted public Facebook post that she returned the Jeep Monday after finding out she was responsible also for paying the insurance and property taxes on it, expenses she said she couldn't afford.

Katie Tanner, public information officer for the Berkeley County School District, says district leaders are working with Hendrick and Reichbach to get the matter resolved.

David Harris, a spokesman for Hendrick Automotive Group, says Hendrick has written Reichbach a check paying for two months of insurance costs. Harris says Reichbach apparently wasn't aware she'd be responsible for the taxes and insurance.

Harris says teachers in these circumstances usually get free use of a vehicle for the first year, but are under no obligation to keep the car for the second year. Reichbach had recently purchased a new vehicle prior to being awarded the Jeep from Hendrick, Harris says.

Harris says school districts typically agree to cover any fees on the vehicles in these partnerships. Tanner says district leaders are looking into documentation for clarification, but aren't aware of any such agreement with Hendrick.

Reichbach is the second Berkeley County teacher of the year to receive a vehicle from Hendrick through a partnership between the school district and the dealership.

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