Florida officer charged with DUI, fired after she’s spotted driving backward

Around the South

A former Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant is out on bond following a DUI arrest Sunday morning.

Christi Ruhtz was immediately terminated by Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

Ruhtz worked in the Public Records Processing Unit for 20 years.

No one answered at Ruhtz’s listed address on Monday.

Sunday morning, a neighbor called 911 with reports that someone was honking their horn.

Deputies responded to 130th Avenue and Wild Acres Road, where they found Ruhtz driving in reverse, still honking her horn.

Investigators said her eyes were bloodshot, glassy and watery and they could smell alcohol on breath.

Officials said at first, Ruhtz refused to take a breathalyzer test but because of her position as a lieutenant, she was required to submit a sample.

Deputies said she blew a .14

Pinellas County residents said her behavior doesn’t look good.

“I think they ought to follow the rules of the department,” said Bill Milien.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving advocates commend the sheriff’s swift actions.

“My hats off to the deputy who was put in a horrible position but did his or her job, did the investigation, found the probable cause and made the arrest and then also to the sheriff’s office who has zero tolerance for this kind of behavior,” said Larry Coggins Jr., Executive Director of MADD.

“Here is someone who is an educated person, a high ranking official with the sheriff’s office, who when they became impaired, judgement went out the window and they were caught behind the wheel.” 

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