Seattle police said Friday they were uncertain whether a department detective was on duty when he was arrested for drunken driving after a traffic accident in Mukilteo Thursday.

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Seattle police said Friday they were uncertain whether a detective was on duty when he was arrested for drunken driving after a traffic accident Thursday in Mukilteo.

John Fox, a 23-year-veteran of the Seattle Police Department, was charged Friday with driving under the influence (DUI). He pleaded not guilty during a brief appearance in Everett District Court on Friday afternoon.

Fox, 46, of Everett, refused to take a breathalyzer test to measure his blood-alcohol level, making him subject to a one-year suspension of his driver’s license. Mukilteo police punched his license Thursday to make it unusable.

Fox, who was convicted 17 years ago of DUI, was driving a GMC Yukon belonging to the city of Seattle at around 1:20 p.m. when he rear-ended another vehicle at Chennault Beach Road and Mukilteo Speedway. The vehicle struck by the Yukon hit another vehicle, which in turn struck a fourth vehicle, police said.

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No serious injuries were reported.

Fox, a narcotics detective, told a Mukilteo officer: “I’m undercover” when he was questioned at the scene.

Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, a Seattle police spokesman, said Friday that the question of whether Fox was working at the time of the collision would be part of an internal investigation to be conducted when the criminal case is completed.

Fox will be transferred while the criminal case is pending, Seattle police said.

Mukilteo police, in a written report, said that at the accident scene Fox’s speech was slow and slurred and his eyes were watery and bloodshot. He also walked with a stagger and later lost his balance several times while being escorted to a holding facility, the report said.

Fox refused to take a portable breath test or undergo field sobriety tests at the scene, according to the report.

A search of the Yukon turned up six empty 50-milliliter (1.7-ounce) bottles of peppermint schnapps and a “nearly empty” 375-milliliter bottle of vodka, the report said.

Police also recovered three handguns, several magazines of ammunition, handcuffs and other police equipment, according to the report.

While in custody, Fox was apologetic, telling an officer he was sorry for putting the officer in the position of having to arrest him.

After his court appearance Friday, Fox left without making a comment. He appeared without an attorney but told a judge he planned to obtain a lawyer.

According to court records, Fox was found guilty of DUI in 1994 after being arrested by the State Patrol in Issaquah. He served one day in jail, paid a $560 fine and completed alcohol-information school.

Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or

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