Derrick Coleman was suspended by the Seahawks after his arrest in Bellevue. Police say his pickup struck a car and he left the crash scene.
Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman was arrested by Bellevue police Wednesday evening after authorities say the vehicle he was driving struck a car and he left the scene of the crash.
Bellevue police chief Steven Mylett said in a news conference Thursday afternoon that “there was enough evidence there to lead us to suspect that perhaps drugs or alcohol could have been involved” and Coleman was later subjected to a blood test.
Coleman, 24, is being held at the King County Jail on investigation of vehicular assault and hit and run. He was being held without bond, as is common until he appears before a judge for a bail hearing. His initial hearing is Friday at 2:30 p.m. in King County Court.
The Seahawks have suspended Coleman indefinitely pending further information, a team spokesperson said in a statement.
According to police, Coleman was driving a Dodge pickup eastbound in the 13600 block of Southeast 36th Street around 6:20 p.m. Wednesday when his vehicle struck a Honda Civic traveling in the same direction.
Mylett said Coleman’s car was traveling at “a high rate of speed” at the time of the accident. The speed limit on the road is 35 miles per hour, Mylett said. The driver of the other car, a male, sustained “serious but non-life-threatening injuries” and was taken to a hospital, Mylett said. Coleman did not report being injured.
Police said Coleman left on foot from the accident. Officers found him eight minutes after the accident standing barefoot two blocks from the scene, Mylett said, standing along the roadway on Southeast 37th Street.
Coleman was cooperative when officers contacted him, the chief said.
Asked what led police to believe drugs or alcohol could be involved, Mylett said, “It’s going really toward statements that were made and observations from the officer at the scene. All I can say is there was enough to warrant us bringing the DRE (drug recognition expert) out there and do sobriety tests and also to secure a search warrant for his blood.”
Results of the blood test, which was taken at Overlake Hospital, could take a few weeks, Mylett said.
Mylett said Coleman did not say why he left the scene of the accident. Mylett said that would be a focus of the investigation.
Coleman’s agents, Derrick Fox and Mark Bloom, released a statement, which read in part: “While the facts of the case are still being determined, it seems Derrick may have fallen asleep while driving home from a Seahawks’ facility. … We will continue to work closely with the local officials while a full investigation is being conducted.”
Mylett said he could not comment about whether Coleman had fallen asleep.
Coleman’s lawyer, Bellevue-based Stephen W. Hayne, said he was confident charges will not be filed. Hayne released to television stations, as well as to the Seahawks, a roughly three-minute video Hayne took of him interviewing Coleman hours after the accident that Hayne says shows Coleman was not under the influence.
“That’s the first time in 40 years I have released something like that, that’s how strongly I feel,” Hayne said.
As for why Coleman wandered from the scene, Hayne said the accident had a “really serious impact” and dislodged the hearing aids Coleman uses to assist in communication and that Coleman might simply have been a little disoriented, having possibly hit his head in the accident.
Asked if Coleman had his hearing aids and was able to communicate with officers, Mylett said: “I believe so. There was a concern that his batteries may have been low so we did make efforts to get some batteries and get him to where he could fully understand what was being asked of him.”
Coleman has played in 22 games since joining the Seahawks in 2013, with six starts, two this year.
Coleman has essentially been deaf since age 3, when he lost his hearing seemingly overnight. He once told The Times: “It just kind of went away. We don’t really know why.”
He uses hearing aids and has been featured as a role model for the hearing-impaired in national advertising.
Coleman’s spot on the team’s 53-man active roster was filled Thursday when the team re-signed receiver B.J. Daniels, who had been waived Tuesday. Since he is on a suspended list, Coleman could be reinstated to the active roster at any time.