State trooper charged after crashing unit; open bottle of rum found in passenger seat, police say

BUFFALO TOWNSHIP, PA. — A Washington County Pennsylvania State Police trooper is facing charges, including DUI, after investigators said he was found intoxicated with an open bottle of rum in his patrol unit.

According to a criminal complaint filed May 17, Trooper Jared Johnson was on duty on May 12 when he was dispatched to reports of a deer in the roadway. The complaint states Johnson was dispatched at 4:43 p.m. to a section of Interstate 70 eastbound in Buffalo Township. Johnson marked himself at the scene at 5:06 p.m. and is said to have told dispatch that the deer in question was gone. The dispatcher had trouble understanding Johnson and asked him to repeat his information, with Johnson repeating that the deer was gone.

The complaint states the dispatcher ended the call, but noticed that Johnson’s GPS location showed he was off the Taylorstown exit, several miles away from where the deer had been reported. The document states the dispatcher knew what route Johnson needed to take to get to the scene and knew he’d never made it to where he’d been dispatched. Calls were still pouring into the dispatch center about the deer still being on the roadway. Concerned for his safety, the dispatcher notified a supervisor about the call and Johnson’s location.

The supervisor drove to the location of Johnson’s unit on the GPS and found him parked in a gravel parking lot near the 2800 block of Green Valley Road in Buffalo Township. The supervisor found Johnson in the driver’s seat with the unit running. The front of the unit also had damage from an apparent car crash.

Johnson got out of the unit and spoke with the supervisor, who noted Johnson had slurred speech, glassy eyes, and had trouble standing. The supervisor took Johnson’s duty weapon and put Johnson into the front seat of his unit. When the supervisor went to secure Johnson’s unit, he noticed a bottle of rum on the front passenger seat in a brown paper bag.

Johnson was taken to Washington Hospital where he was asked to submit a chemical blood test, but he apparently refused to sign a form for consent. He was then taken to PSP Washington and released at 9:40 p.m.

After reviewing Johnson’s unit dash cam footage, investigators found he was involved in a crash on Jefferson Avenue and Tyler Avenue while he was responding to the deer in the roadway call. The document states Johnson tried to make a left turn around construction markers in a construction zone when he left the roadway, drove onto a sidewalk and struck a curb. Johnson then put his unit in reverse to get off the curb and continued onto Tyler Avenue before eventually stopping in the gravel parking lot.

PSP Washington shared this statement with WPXI:

“Trooper Jared Johnson enlisted in the PSP in October 2004 and graduated in May 2005 with the 117th Cadet Class. Due to the charges, he was suspended without pay pending the outcome of the case.”