Bellevue police chief defends investigation in Coleman crash
BELLEVUE, Wash. (AP) Police Chief Steve Mylett defended his department's investigation into a car crash involving Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman, saying Tuesday that his confidence level is ''rock solid'' in the investigation and charging recommendations.
Mylett spoke a day after the police report in Coleman's case was released and said he was particularly irritated by comments from Coleman's attorney, Steve Hayne. Mylett said he understands the attorney is attempting to defend his client but crossed a line when he attacked the integrity of the police department and the investigation.
Among other things, Hayne said the 101-page report was intended to make Coleman look bad.
Police have recommended charges of vehicular assault and hit-and-run against Coleman and forwarded the case to the King County Prosecutor's Office.
Coleman was arrested Oct. 14 after a crash that left the driver of the other vehicle with a broken collarbone and a concussion, but the investigation only wrapped up last weekend. That led to some speculation that Bellevue police were waiting for the conclusion of the Seahawks' season before advancing the investigation.
Mylett rebuffed that speculation, saying toxicology reports and an analysis of the accident were only recently completed.
''There was no manipulation of timing when filing the charges. We filed it as soon as we were able to present a complete case to the prosecutor's office,'' Mylett said.
According to the police report, Coleman told police he had smoked synthetic marijuana known as ''Spice'' about an hour before the crash. Coleman's truck was traveling at 60 mph in a 35 mph zone and hit a Honda Civic.
Coleman's foot remained on the accelerator for several seconds after the initial impact with the Civic, driving it 260 feet down the road until it was pushed off the roadway, up a hill and flipped over, according to the police report.
Synthetic marijuana is not actually marijuana, but typically consists of designer drugs - sometimes similar to amphetamines - sprayed onto plant matter, then smoked.
Police said they discovered a lighter, a glass spoon pipe with tarry residue, one open bag of ''synthetic cannabinoid'' and three unopened bags of ''synthetic cannabinoid'' in Coleman's truck. Police said Coleman showed signs of being impaired during field sobriety tests, but blood tests taken several hours after the crash did not show the drug Coleman acknowledged taking.
Mylett said ''Spice'' is difficult to detect through toxicology tests and the blood taken from Coleman was six hours after the crash.
''When he was operating his vehicle, I don't know what level was in his system. When we took the blood, we're evaluating it six hours after the incident,'' Mylett said. ''Mr. Coleman acknowledged and admitted he had smoked the substance about an hour before the collision. We're going on his account of the events and what we found in the vehicle.''
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