LARGO, FL – On the same weekend the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office had extra deputies on patrol for a DUI operation, a Pinellas County Sheriff’s lieutenant was arrested for drunk driving.
While hunting for DUI offenders over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, members of the sheriff’s DUI unit arrested Christi Ruhtz, 41, a lieutenant in the public records processing unit.
Ruhtz was pulled over at 1:49 a.m. Sunday, March 18, near 130th Avenue and Wild Acres Road in Largo after a resident called to complain about a car honking its horns. Deputies arrived and saw a car driving in reverse with the driver blaring the horn.
When they approached the car, Ruhtz was the only person inside. She had bloodshot, glassy eyes and there was an odor of alcohol on her breath, according to the sheriff’s office. Ruhtz agreed to perform field sobriety tests but performed poorly.
She refused to give a breath sample for testing but relented when told that samples are required of any sheriff’s office employee. Her blood-alcohol level was between .13 and .14, above the limits for legal intoxication.
She was charged with one count of driving under the influence and taken to the Pinellas County Jail.
A sheriff’s office employee since 1998, Ruhtz was also fired from her job.