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Elizabeth Evans
The York Dispatch, Pa.

A Springettsbury Township police officer has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol while on duty and driving a police cruiser.
State police filed charges against Patrolman Gary Utter, 37, of Stewartstown, on Monday.
If convicted of DUI, which is a misdemeanor, Utter would be decertified by the state's Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission, meaning he would no longer be allowed to work as a municipal officer in Pennsylvania.
Police referred comment to Springettsbury Township Manager John J. Holman, who said Utter has been an officer with the township for approximately seven years.
"At the present time, Mr. Utter is on a leave of absence," Holman said, and continues to be paid by the township.
Holman said township officials will "conduct an appropriate (personnel) investigation."
According to state police, Utter was driving a 2005 Crown Victoria cruiser in the 2000 block of Mount Zion Road about 7:12 a.m. Aug. 23 when he sideswiped a stone wall owned by Allison Kissner.
Holman said Utter was just coming on duty when the crash happened.
Utter escaped injury, but the cruiser sustained "moderate" damage along the length of the passenger side, state police said.
The allegations: According to charging documents, Utter called township Cpl. David Kennedy on a cell phone, told him he'd struck the wall and said he was driving the cruiser back to the police station. Kennedy met him there.
While interviewing Utter, Kennedy smelled a strong odor of an alcohol on the officer, police said.
"He asked the defendant how much alcohol he had been drinking prior to his shift and the defendant stated, 'not much,'" the charging documents state.
Police said Kennedy alerted his superiors, then drove Utter to Memorial Hospital for a blood test, which determined Utter's blood-alcohol level to be 0.123 percent. In Pennsylvania, an adult is driving drunk at 0.08 percent.
On Aug. 25, Springettsbury Township Police Chief David Eshbach and the York County District Attorney's Office asked state police to investigate.

Cruiser 'weaving'
That investigation included a review of a video recording from the patrol cruiser Utter was driving, which shows the cruiser heading north on Mount Zion Road (Route 24), and "weaving significantly out of the lane of travel to the right," charging documents state.
"A short time later, the vehicle drives off the right side of the roadway and sideswipes a stone wall at 2027 Mount Zion Road," documents state. "After the impact, the vehicle continues north to a parking lot where the defendant can be observed exiting the driver's door (via shadows) and then appears on camera checking the damage to the patrol car."
Utter's phone number is not listed and he could not be reached for comment.

Story From: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
 
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