On-duty King County Deputy found passed out in car in Newcastle on New Year's Eve

A King County Sheriff’s deputy was arrested Dec. 3  for Physical Control of a Motor Vehicle after a citizen called to report the deputy hunched over the steering wheel of his parked, fully-marked police car.

According to a press release, "Physical Control of a Motor Vehicle" is the legal equivalent of DUI when no driving is observed.

The incident started about 9:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Starbuck’s near the intersection of Newcastle Way and Coal Creek Parkway.  A citizen called 9-1-1 and said there was a deputy in a fully marked police car who appeared to be passed out at the wheel, and he could not wake him.

Another deputy arrived on the scene, as well as a sergeant and captain.  They were eventually able to rouse the deputy and saw signs of impairment but alcohol was not suspected.  A Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) from the Bellevue Police Department was requested.

After an investigation, the Bellevue DRE believed the deputy was under the influence of some sort of drug, possibly a narcotic.  The deputy was placed under arrest and a search warrant was obtained to draw his blood, after which he was processed and released at Bellevue PD.  The patrol car was towed and a search warrant will be obtained later this week to search the interior for evidence.

The 46-old deputy has worked for the  Sheriff’s Office for 15 years, and prior to that was an officer in Hawaii.  He is currently assigned to the southeast area of King County.   The King County Sheriff’s Office will conduct an administrative investigation and Bellevue Police will handle the criminal investigation.  The deputy will remain on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigations.

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