Upper Chichester Police arrested Upper Darby Mayor Barbarann Keffer close to 9 p.m. Thursday evening on suspicion of driving under the influence. She faces a total of four moving-vehicle charges.
Broad + Liberty broke the news first shortly after 10:30 p.m.
Court documents released after noon on Friday indicate Keffer is charged with DUI, accident damage to unattended vehicle or property (failure to stop at the scene of the accident), careless driving, and failure to keep right. Her case is currently assigned to Judge Diane M. Holefelder.
The initial police contact did not happen with Upper Darby Police, however, according to the Delco Daily Times.
“She was stopped by one of our patrol officers after she was observed driving on a flat tire and with a headlight out,” Upper Chichester Sgt. Christopher Jones told the paper. “It looks like through the investigation she had struck something, which gave her a flat tire and damage to the front of the vehicle.”
“Jones said Keffer struck a fixed object, not a person or deer, and no one was hurt,” the paper added, while also noting Keffer declined to be tested.
Sgt. Jones told Broad + Liberty through further investigation by the department, police believe she earlier hit a guardrail, but did not stop at that location. He estimated that Keffer was pulled over about a mile from where police believe the original accident that damaged her car occurred. He also said he had no reports from on-scene officers that Keffer tried to flee the scene where she was pulled over, or that she might have tried to invoke her political power by informing officers of her elected status.
Keffer was in attendance at a fundraising party for Delaware County Councilwoman Christine Reuther just hours earlier.
A Facebook post from around 7 p.m. Thursday evening from Delaware County Register of Wills Rachel Berry posted pictures of Reuther speaking at a lectern, as well as a crowd photo of several prominent county Democrats. Keffer can not be seen in any of the photos.
“There was a private Fundraiser Dinner last night for Councilwoman Reuther,” a spokeswoman for Delaware County said in an email. “Councilwoman Reuther confirms the Mayor was in attendance but it was a well-attended event and Councilwoman Reuther didn’t have a chance to speak with the Mayor.”
Upper Darby Councilman Andrew Hayman can be seen in one of those photos.
When reached by phone, Hayman said he is “not making a comment at this time.”
Elements of electronic police documents show Keffer was in police custody by at least 9:47 that evening.
Both Keffer and the township did not return a request for comment from Broad + Liberty. Keffer’s office did, however, provide a statement to 6ABC.
“Last evening, Mayor Barbarann Keffer was involved in a traffic incident and plans to cooperate fully with local authorities in Upper Chichester,” the station reported. “The Mayor was arrested on suspicion of DUI and released. Mayor Keffer and her family request privacy as they deal with the personal aspects of this incident and she will offer additional comment in the near future.”
News of Keffer’s arrest comes just one day after a contentious chapter of a year-long saga in the township came to a close when embattled Chief Administrative Officer Vincent Rongione stepped down from his position.
This is a developing story, and will be updated as reportable details are available.
UPDATE: This story has been updated from the original version to include information reported by the Delco Daily Times, adding information of the charges from the court docket, adding the statement made by Keffer’s office, as well as adding comments from Upper Chichester Police Sgt. Jones made to Broad + Liberty.
Todd Shepherd is Broad + Liberty’s chief investigative reporter. Send him tips at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use his encrypted email at email@example.com. @shepherdreports