Florida Police Officer Fired After Reverse Drunken Driving

A police officer was fired from the force after she was charged with drunk driving in reverse along the streets of Pinellas, Florida.

Christi Ruhtz, a lieutenant in the Pinellas County Sheriff Department, was fired Sunday after her superiors discovered she was busted for driving under the influence.

The Sheriff's Office told the Tampa Bay Times that Ruhtz's eyes were bloodshot and glassy, and noticeable reeked of alcohol when an officer approached her car after pulling her over. She reportedly performed poorly in a field sobriety test and initially refused to give a breathalyzer test, but was eventually demanded to give one by the Sheriff's Office. She blew a 0.14, nearly double the allowed impairment of 0.08.

The Sheriff's Office had been working with multiple police departments on Saturday night to combat drunk driving as people recklessly celebrated St. Patrick's Day. The Tampa Bay Times reports that an additional 12 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence along with Ruhtz.

Elsewhere in Florida news, the casualty count from the pedestrian bridge collapse at Florida International University was bumped up to six deaths, with another 10 people suffering injuries.

The bridge was originally built to connect the university's campus to a nearby neighborhood where many students lived. Despite the bridge costing $14.2 million to build and was on schedule to be complete by 2019, a portion collapsed on Thursday and trapped cars and pedestrians underneath.

According to FIU officials the bridge weighed in at 950 tons and was promoted as the "first of its kind" by using Accelerated Bridge construction technology.

FIGG Engineering, one of the companies that helped build the bridge, released a statement offering condolences following the collapse.

"We are stunned by today's tragic collapse of a pedestrian bridge that was under construction over Southwest Eighth Street in Miami. Our deepest sympathies are with all those affected by this accident. We will fully cooperate with every appropriate authority in reviewing what happened and why. In our 40-year history, nothing like this has ever happened before. Our entire team mourns the loss of life and injuries associated with this devastating tragedy, and our prayers go out to all involved," FIGG Engineering said in a statement.

The bridge was paid for as part of a $19.4 million grant given by the US Department of Transportation

1comments

Photo: Pinellas County Sheriff Office