Well, she wasn't drinking, said the parents of the reigning Miss Connecticut Outstanding Teen, after their daughter held a party that police say mushroomed out of control, landing two dozen people charged with underage drinking.
Rachael Ramonas, 17, lists among her accomplishments a benefit she organized for families of victims of a fatal car crash in which the teen behind the wheel had a history of drunken driving.
It's not clear whether Ramonas, who competed in the Miss America Outstanding Teen pageant in August in Florida, was among those charged. Police are not releasing the teens' names because they are juveniles.
Her parents issued a statement Wednesday:
"What was intended to be a small impromptu social gathering of our daughter Rachael and some of her friends and relatives this past Saturday night unfortunately grew in size and scope beyond what was intended."
"We and Rachael regret any negative inference this incident may have caused to our community, our school system or the Connecticut Chapter of the Miss America Scholarship Pageant."
The moment of doom for the teen queen came when someone made an anonymous call about underage drinking Saturday night.
Police said they found beer and rum and evidence of beer pong.
Ramonas' parents were out of the state when police arrived, Wolcott police Capt. Domenic Angiolillo said. They came home the next day, he said.
No one answered the phone at the Ramonas home Wednesday in Wolcott, about 30 miles southwest of Hartford. Several students at Wolcott High School, where Ramonas is a senior, declined to speak to a reporter Wednesday afternoon, and the principal declined to comment.
The teen pageant is affiliated with the national Miss America pageant and scholarship competition. The Miss Connecticut Scholarship Program administers both the Miss Connecticut and Miss Connecticut Outstanding Teen contests as preliminaries to the national competitions.
The Miss Outstanding Teen contest promotes scholastic achievement, creative accomplishments, healthy living and community involvement. Ramonas received a $2,000 scholarship for winning the state title.
Pageant officials on the state and national levels are deciding whether to take action. Ramonas' term ends in June.
"This is a very sad day for us today," said Gail McCool, spokeswoman for the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Program.
According to the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Web site, Ramonas is an honor student who wants to become a dentist. Her platform is to promote awareness of eating disorders.
The Web site also says she organized a fundraiser for the families of three friends killed in a car accident in 2007. The driver of that crash, Anthony Apruzzese, 17, of Wolcott, had his license suspended earlier that year from a crash in which he was charged with driving while intoxicated. Apruzzese was among those killed.
Ramonas had apparently planned a low-key gathering, Angiolillo said.
"She invited some friends, and those friends invited some friends and those friends invited some friends, and it got out of hand from what we hear," Angiolillo said.
Police issued 24 tickets for possession of alcohol by a minor. The infraction carries a $136 fine and, under a new state law, an automatic driver's license suspension of at least 30 days.
Another dozen teens ran away without being caught, police said. It appears most of the teens who were cited intend to plead not guilty and take their cases to Waterbury Superior Court, Angiolillo said.
"It's not the end of the world. It's not the crime of the century," Angiolillo said. "It was kids being kids. She made a bad judgment call. It's just a shame, that's all. You have to take responsibility for your actions."