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York County police officer charged with DUI resigns from job

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Patrick Gartrell Jr.

A former Northern York County Regional police officer was more than three times over the legal limit when he was arrested for driving under the influence more than a month ago, according to charging documents.

Those documents, filed by the now-disbanded Southwestern Regional Police, allege Patrick Gartrell Jr. drove in the opposing lane, staggered while taking field-sobriety tests and later tried to steal two samples of his blood from York Hospital.

Gartrell, 45, of North Codorus Township, will be charged with DUI and careless driving and have bail set in his case immediately before his preliminary hearing, scheduled for Feb. 3, court records indicate.

Charging documents state another driver called 911 about 5:40 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, to report seeing a pickup truck driver driving erratically, continually hitting the brakes and drifting into the opposing lanes of North Codorus Township roads.

That driver followed the truck, which Gartrell was driving, and at one point reported the truck had stopped, after which Gartrell got out and urinated in the middle of Sherwood Drive, documents allege.

The other driver also reported seeing the truck pull over and stop, then drive off again, police said.

An officer pulled over Gartrell at the corner of Country Road and Country Manor Drive.

He smelled of alcohol, staggered through field-sobriety tests and was taken to York Hospital for a blood test, charging documents state.

While at York Hospital, Gartrell tried to leave but was stopped by officers, police said.

Pocketed blood vials? After Gartrell's blood was drawn about 6:50 p.m., he took the two tubes of his blood and placed them into his pocket, in "an attempt to steal evidence," charging documents state

After getting bloodwork done, Gartrell was driven to the New Salem area, where he was released into the custody of his wife, police said.

Blood testing later determined Gartrell's blood-alcohol level to be 0.276%, which is more than three times the legal limit. In Pennsylvania, an adult is driving drunk at 0.08%.

Northern Regional Police Chief Dave Lash said his department was made aware of Gartrell's arrest the day it happened and that Gartrell resigned on Dec. 2.

Gartrell had been with the department for 18 years and was named Northern Regional's 2012 officer of the year.

His defense attorney, Chris Moore, could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday, Jan. 3.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.