Pinellas County sheriff's lieutenant fired hours after DUI arrest

Posted at 12:37 PM, Mar 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-19 08:52:40-04

A Pinellas County sheriff's lieutenant arrested early Sunday morning has been fired, a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office news release said.

Christi Ruhtz, 41, was thrown off the force after she was arrested on one count of driving under the influence. She served as a lieutenant in the Pinellas sheriff's office public records processing unit.

Ruhtz had been on the force since Dec. 21, 1998.

The incident began shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday in the area of 130th Avenue and Wild Acres Road in Largo.

Sheriff's deputies responded to a concerned citizen call about a disturbance due honking vehicle in the neighborhood. When deputies arrived, they saw a vehicle moving in reverse and the motorist honking the horn.

Deputies stopped the vehicle and spoke to Ruhtz, who was alone in the vehicle. 

Ruhtz was described as having glassy, bloodshot and watery eyes, suggesting signs of impairment, the release said. Deputies also said she smelled of alcohol.

She agreed to perform field sobriety tests, which Ruhtz performed poorly, the release said. 

Ruhtz refused to submit a breath sample for the criminal investigation, the release said. Ruhtz was required to submit to an administrative breath sample due to her employment with the sheriff's office