A Pennsylvania State Police trooper has been charged with allegedly trying to conceal the arrest of another trooper’s father in a case involving driving under the influence, Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan announced Friday.
Cpl. Jennifer Ruhl, 50, of West Chester, was charged with obstructing the administration of law, tampering with public records, hindering apprehension or prosecution, and unsworn falsification. Ruhl has been suspended without pay. She will be arraigned later this month.
“We hold law enforcement to the highest standards, and the defendant betrayed her sworn oath with these criminal acts,” Ryan said in a statement. “Law enforcement must continue to police their own, just as Pennsylvania State Police did here.”
Ruhl, who has been with the state police for 23 years, could not be reached for comment late Friday afternoon.
On Nov. 26, 2019, troopers stopped a car in Lower Oxford Township and a man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. While being processed at the state police Avondale Barracks, the driver, whose name was not released, allegedly told the troopers that his son was on the force. A supervisor questioned troopers about the arrest and the driver’s son, and one replied that the driver had a son on the force.
A sample of the driver’s blood was sent to a lab in Horsham to be tested and a report was sent back to the state police.
“The report, however, went missing despite confirmation that it was received at the Avondale Station,” the prosecutor’s office said in a news release. The report was requested again and it allegedly showed that the driver had a blood-alcohol level exceeding the legal limit.
On Jan. 2, 2020, Ruhl allegedly instructed staff to change related documents so as to show her as the arresting-investigating officer even though she was not at the scene of the arrest. A month later, Ruhl instructed that the DUI investigation be reclassified as a “towed vehicle.” She later allegedly prepared and submitted a report that said the driver was not impaired.
On April 13, 2020, a fax was sent from the Avondale barracks to the state police Bureau of Records and Information that indicated the original arrest information was wrong and no charge would be filed.
The case against Ruhl was investigated by the state police and the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.