A Seattle police sergeant who had previously worked as an instructor was arrested early Saturday for DUI in a police vehicle after being involved in a hit and run crash, according to the State Patrol.
The officer, who joined the department in summer 1990, was contacted by police shortly after midnight at Western Avenue and Spring Street. Police said officers saw him committ a series of traffic violations in the department-leased Chevy Impala.
One of the Seattle officer who responded and recognized the sergeant asked for the State Patrol investigators, records show.
State Patrol Trooper Julie Startup said the minor collision and property damage occurred near where the sergeant was stopped, but no other vehicles or people were involved.
The sergeant, 42, refused field sobriety tests, and a trooper who responded suspected drug use, according to the a State Patrol log. Startup said the sergeant took a portable breath test at the scene and alcohol was not a factor.
The Seattle police vehicle, which was not a marked patrol car, was impounded to a police yard. The sergeant has not been charged with a crime.
He was taken to Harborview Medical Center after investigators requested a blood sample. It can be ordered with a search warrant if a person refuses.
The results could take up to two months, Startup said.
About 2:45 a.m., the sergeant was released to Seattle Police Captain Michael Fann. In a statement sent after the story was reported Monday by seattlepi.com, department officials said the sergeant was not on duty when officers saw him commit “a series of traffic violations.”
Seattlepi.com does not typically name suspects until they're charged.
Seattle Municipal Court usually handles cases investigated by Seattle police, but the case is expected to at least initially go to King County District Court because of the State Patrol involvement. Kimberly Mills, spokeswoman for City Attorney Pete Holmes, said Monday afternoon the case had been referred to the criminal division.
The case hadn't been referred to District Court yet Monday but that time frame is not uncommon in DUI cases.
The sergeant cited for DUI had previously completed a 40-hour training course and underwent training regarding mental illnesses and communicating with the mentally ill. He became a sergeant in 2010 and had worked as an instructor.
Last year, he was given a distinguished service award for performing a distinguished act of courage involving an imminent risk of serious danger and also was recommended by a deputy chief for the State Law Enforcement Medal of Honor because of his work.