PSP trooper charged with DUI, was Troop H spokesman
A state police trooper who served as spokesman for the agency's southcentral Pennsylvania stations has been charged with drunken driving.
Trooper Robert Thomas Hicks, 41, of Hampden Township, Cumberland County, is accused of driving drunk about 1:15 a.m. Nov. 12 on Gettysburg Road, not far from Simpson Ferry Road in Lower Allen Township. That's outside Camp Hill, also in Cumberland County.
Hicks, who goes by Rob, for nearly four years had been the spokesman for Troop H, which includes York, Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin and Perry counties.
He was pulled over on a weekend, and on the following Monday, he was placed on restricted duty, according to Ryan Tarkowski, who is communications director for Pennsylvania State Police. That was Nov. 14.
Hicks remains on restricted duty while an internal investigation takes place, Tarkowski said. Restricted duty essentially means he reports to Troop H headquarters in Harrisburg and works from the office.
The trooper notified his commanding officer immediately, according to Tarkowski.
"Trooper Hicks has been with PSP since 2007," he said.
Asked whether a DUI conviction would disqualify a state trooper from remaining on the job, Tarkowski said it depends.
"It's not an automatic disqualification," he said.
For example, if a trooper is found guilty of a DUI that also involved hit and run, that could be disqualifying, he said. Tarkowski confirmed such incidents are handled on a case-by-case basis.
The allegations: Lower Allen Township Police filed charges Dec. 2 with the office of District Judge Charles Clement Jr., according to court records.
Charging documents state Hicks was spotted by a patrol officer driving west in the center turn lane of Gettysburg Road and weaving in and out of the center turn lane for about a half-mile.
He moved to the right but "continued to weave and jerk in and out of (his) lane of travel" for about a fifth of a mile before being pulled over near the Route 15 underpass and Simpson Ferry Road, documents state.
Despite it being cold outside, Hicks had all his windows down. He appeared to be very intoxicated, slurring his speech and swaying in his seat, and he had difficulty pulling his license, registration and insurance card from his wallet, documents allege.
He also smelled strongly of alcohol, and his reaction time was "slow and lethargic," police allege.
Stumbled: Hicks agreed to perform field sobriety tests but stumbled while walking between his car and the police cruiser, then failed the tests, documents state.
A blood test later showed Hicks' blood-alcohol level to be 0.232 percent — nearly three times the legal limit. In Pennsylvania, an adult is driving drunk at 0.08 percent.
Hicks has not yet been arraigned and will receive a summons through the mail, according to Clement's office.
Hicks does not have a listed phone number, and it is unclear whether he has retained an attorney.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.