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Sheriff: York deputy fired, under criminal investigation
A York County deputy sheriff recently praised for stopping a dangerous driver in downtown York City has been terminated, the York County sheriff confirmed Wednesday morning.
"There was just cause to revoke (Sgt.) Troy Senft's employment as a deputy sheriff," Sheriff Rich Keuerleber said.
Senft, who is in his 50s, was let go on Tuesday, the sheriff said.
"There is a criminal investigation going on that was turned over to the York County District Attorney's Office," he said. "There will be full disclosure after that investigation is complete."
Keuerleber confirmed York County detectives are conducting the probe.
No details yet: He declined to say what Senft allegedly did to warrant termination or why he's being investigated.
The sheriff said the matter just recently came to his attention.
"We'll see where this investigation leads," he said. "But at this point we need to wait (before discussing the matter)."
Senft has been with the sheriff's office about 15 years, according to Keuerleber, who's known Senft about the same amount of time.
"It's never OK when ... someone you put trust in violates that trust," the sheriff said. "This shouldn't affect the rest of the dedicated professionals who work for this office."
'Served his country': Senft is being represented by attorney Korey Leslie, who released this statement to The York Dispatch on Wednesday morning:
"Troy Senft has served his country with great honor through decades of service in the United States military and service to the County of York. Troy has cooperated fully with the District Attorney’s investigation and will continue to do so. The ultimate decision to file criminal charges will be made by the District Attorney of York County. To comment further on an ongoing investigation would be inappropriate at this time."
Kyle King, spokesman for the district attorney's office, texted a statement when asked for comment: "The Office of the District Attorney per policy does not confirm or deny whether or not there is an ongoing investigation until such time charges are or are not filed."
Nearly dragged: Senft was nearly dragged and another deputy nearly struck earlier this year as they tried to stop an extremely intoxicated driver going the wrong way on Philadelphia Street, according to police.
Frederick W. Farmer took off when deputies approached, but Senft jumped into the man's pickup truck and wrestled with him in an effort to stop the car, sheriff's Lt. Greg Ickler said.
Deputies feared Farmer could have possibly hurt or killed someone if he kept driving in that condition, the lieutenant said.
Senft easily could have been dragged by the fleeing pickup and potentially injured during the 1:09 p.m. Feb. 26 incident , according to Ickler.
Senft was in a vehicle outside the York County Judicial Center, at the corner of North George and Philadelphia streets, and Ickler and sheriff's Sgt. Shawn Brady were on foot, according to charging documents filed by York City Police.
A good Samaritan who was on the phone with 911 to report Farmer's erratic driving told a 911 dispatcher there were deputies in the area, Ickler said, and that's when 911 sent out a dispatch to the deputies about the driver.
Farmer was northbound on George Street and turned right onto East Philadelphia Street, meaning he was driving the wrong way on the one-way street, according to the lieutenant.
A few yards later he struck a fire hydrant and nearly struck Brady, Ickler said.
Farmer made a left on Duke Street, a left onto North Street and a third left, which put him back onto North George Street, this time heading southbound, according to Ickler.
Stopped in traffic: Farmer was forced to stop for slow-moving traffic prior to reaching the Philadelphia Street intersection, and Senft used that small window of opportunity to open the driver-side door to try to pull out Farmer, the lieutenant said.
But when traffic moved, so did Farmer's pickup truck, police said. It went about 15 feet, carrying Senft along for the ride, Ickler said. His feet weren't touching the ground so he was not technically dragged, the lieutenant said, but his feet were hanging out of the truck.
During Senft's short ride, he struggled to get Farmer under control, Ickler said. York City Police said Senft could have been seriously hurt.
But Brady ran up and together the two sergeants got the truck stopped and handcuffed Farmer, Ickler said; they then called York City Police.
Smelled of booze: Farmer smelled strongly of alcohol and had urinated in his pants, charging documents state.
Neither Senft nor Brady needed medical attention. Farmer was admitted to York Hospital for extreme intoxication after being taken there for a blood-alcohol test, Ickler said.
Farmer, 40, of 893 E. Philadelphia St., second floor, is free on $5,000 bail, charged with two counts each of aggravated assault on law enforcement and reckless endangerment, and one count each of fleeing police and driving under the influence, according to court records. It is unclear if he has retained an attorney.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.