City sheriff's deputy accused of drunken driving after crash


A Baltimore sheriff's deputy has been charged with drunken driving after allegedly crashing his unmarked cruiser into a car and truck parked on a Southeast Baltimore street.

Deputy John Anthony Rutkowski Jr., 40, of the 1200 block of Cooksie St., also was charged with illegal possession of prescription drugs after the accident early Saturday.

Deputy Rutkowski, an 18-year veteran of the agency, has been placed on administrative duty pending the resolution of the charges, said Dave DeAngelis, chief deputy of the Sheriff's Department.

Asked whether he was on duty at the time of the incident, Deputy Rutkowski, a member of the agency's fugitive squad, said, "I was working on something." He said he was looking for a fugitive, "chasing him all over the place," including "a couple of different bars." He declined to comment further.

A Baltimore police officer responding to a call reporting an accident about 12:45 a.m. Saturday in the 6600 block of O'Donnell St. found Deputy Rutkowski sitting in a 1993 Ford four-door car with fresh damage to its front end, court records show. Residents reported that a pickup truck and a car parked on the street also had been damaged.

The deputy, who had a "very strong" odor of alcohol on his breath, told the officer he had been drinking beer and failed three roadside sobriety tests before being arrested for drunken driving, according to the charging document in court files. The deputy refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test, according to the document.

Pills found in a black bag in the car's trunk were suspected to be oxycodone, court documents show. Oxycodone is a narcotic analgesic contained in several brands of prescription medicine, including Percodan.

Deputy Rutkowski, who could receive prison terms of up to four years if convicted on all charges, is scheduled to stand trial Sept. 26.

The deputy was relieved of his gun and arrest powers Tuesday, said Chief Deputy DeAngelis. He described Deputy Rutkowski as a key member of the fugitive squad who was often given difficult assignments.

"He is one of the people we rely on heavily," Chief Deputy DeAngelis said. "This has kind of shocked us all a little bit."

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