Mayor Barbarann Keffer of Upper Darby was booked on DUI charges following a Thursday night traffic stop in Upper Chichester Township.
According to court documents, Keffer appeared to be drunk, got into a crash, and ultimately refused a blood test.
Charging documents allege Keffer was alone in the car while traveling westbound on Route 322 near Chelsea Parkway when an officer behind her noticed her Toyota Corolla had a flat tire on the passenger side, a broken headlight, damage to its front bumper, and was swerving into coming traffic.
The officer pulled Keffer over after 9 p.m. and smelled alcohol. According to an Upper Chichester officer’s written affidavit, Keffer also had “glassy bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and unstable balance.”
Keffer admitted to having three drinks, failed a roadside sobriety test, and then refused to continue with the test as the officer determined she was not capable of driving.
She was placed in custody and taken to the Upper Chichester Police Department, where she allegedly refused to be photographed and fingerprinted. Police say she was not hostile.
As the investigation continued, police reported township surveillance cameras revealed her vehicle was not damaged at one point during her travels.
However, police believe she hit a guardrail and found part of that guardrail damaged on the 700 block of Meetinghouse Road. Multiple reports say Keffer was returning from a Democratic fundraiser in the township that night.
While Keffer was released from custody later that night, Upper Darby officials released a statement on Friday afternoon on Keffer’s behalf.
“Last evening, Mayor Barbarann Keffer was involved in a traffic incident and plans to cooperate fully with local authorities in Upper Chichester. Mayor Keffer 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 soon.”
Former GOP councilman and current Upper Darby resident Patrick Spellman said the mayor could be forced to resign if the council finds moral wickedness, defined as an act that blatantly violates the point of view of the accepted standard of the community.
“Obviously due process plays out, but early indication reveals so much bad behavior concerning this incident that she shouldn’t be holding public office at this time,” Spellman told Action News.
“Last night, Upper Darby Mayor Barbarann Keffer once again displayed poor judgment, this time choosing to drive a vehicle while intoxicated endangering herself and others, offering another example of why she should not lead our largest municipality,” said Frank Agovino, chair of the Delaware County Republican Committee on Friday. “These complex times require steady leadership and instead the Upper Darby government has been plagued with dysfunction, scandal, financial mismanagement, and a skyrocketing crime rate.”
“While I am sensitive to those that make mistakes or suffer from addiction, Mayor Keffer should recognize based on recent events that remaining as mayor is not in the best interest of Upper Darby Township,” Agovino added.
The news of Keffer’s arrest comes right after the ongoing controversy within the township as Chief Administrative Officer Vincent Rongione stepped down.
“I can assure you that the government is operating, as usual, to serve the businesses, residents, and visitors of Upper Darby, with our administrative leadership and their team members focused on providing municipal services, activities, and programs to the community,” Alison Dobbins, Upper Darby Township deputy chief administrative officer said in a statement.
The next council meeting is set for Wednesday, February 1. Keffer is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on March 1.