Crime - Sacto 911

Woman arrested with Marin principal remains in custody (video)

The 21-year-old woman arrested last week after she was found with a Marin County principal in a Rancho Cordova hotel room “littered with drugs” remains in custody after being arraigned Tuesday.

Bail for Brittney Hall, who is being represented by the public defender, is set at $75,000.

Thomas “Woody” Price, 54, who celebrated his birthday the night before his arrest, quickly resigned as principal of the Branson School in Ross. The two were arrested Friday at the Hyatt Place hotel in Rancho Cordova. Price is no longer in custody after posting $75,000 bail Saturday.

About noon Friday, police received a call from a man who asked that they check on his girlfriend who was in a Rancho Cordova hotel room with a man, said Rancho Cordova police spokesman Sgt. Jason Ramos.

The boyfriend supplied the names of both Price and Hall. The man suspected that drugs were being taken in the room, perhaps by Hall, according to Ramos.

When officers arrived at the hotel, they confirmed a room was being rented by Price. They knocked on the room door and were told to wait by a man inside. After minute or two, Price opened the door and officers told him they were there to check on Hall.

Officers went into the room and found Hall passed out on the bed. Price said the young woman was OK, but officers initially got no response from her.

Eventually, officers roused her. They found prescription medication and illegal drugs, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine in the room, Ramos said.

Price was arrested on suspicion of possession of narcotics and possession of methamphetamine for sale, Ramos said. Hall was also arrested on drug charges.

Ramos said he could not provide information about the relationship between Hall and Price, but said it was “clear they were not strangers.”

“They had some pre-existing relationship,” Ramos said.

Ramos declined to identify the boyfriend who tipped off authorities.

“It’s curious what the nature of the relationship between her and this guy is but we really don’t care,” Ramos said. “It came in as a welfare check.”

Hall is also facing a 2014 misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence.

David Golden, chairman of trustees for the 320-student Branson School, said in a letter to parents that the board was aware of Price’s arrest. He told parents that Price had tendered his resignation.

“We are deeply troubled by these developments,” wrote Golden.

Branson was founded in 1920 in Ross, a tony community 11 miles north of San Francisco. Branson’s 17-acre campus includes five science labs and music, dance and art studios.

According to a biography on the school’s website, Thomas W. “Woody” Price is Branson’s ninth headmaster. He was appointed in 2006.

Before his appointment at Branson, he was headmaster at Cambridge Friends School in Massachusetts, Abington Friends School in Pennsylvania and The Isadore Newman School in New Orleans.

Representatives from each of the schools said he left in good standing to pursue other opportunities.

Price graduated summa cum laude from Lake Forest College in Illinois, with a master’s degree from Columbia University and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

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