“I am terribly sorry for my behavior and am very embarrassed by it,” Sig Hansen wrote in a statement released through a publicist. “I have no excuse, and accept responsibility for my actions. I made a boneheaded move last night, and I am sorry.”
Celebrity crab-boat captain Sig Hansen was arrested and jailed early Thursday after he allegedly spat on an Uber driver in Ballard and kicked and dented the driver’s car after Hansen learned he couldn’t pay cash for his family’s ride home, Seattle police reported.
Hansen, 51, who had been in Ballard celebrating Norway’s Constitution Day with family, was arrested later at his Shoreline home after an Uber rideshare driver reported the incident to police, according to a Seattle police report.
When officers confronted Hansen at his home, Hansen appeared “obviously intoxicated,” denied the altercation took place and initially resisted arrest, the report said.
“He tried to walk inside his house. I told him he was not free to go and put out my arm to restrain him,” Officer Thomas Heller later wrote in an incident report. “ … He then resisted our attempts and commands to place his hands behind his back. After a few seconds, he stopped resisting so strenuously, and we were able to handcuff him.”
King County Jail records show Hansen was booked at 4:05 a.m. in connection with misdemeanor assault and property destruction charges. He was released after posting bail Thursday afternoon.
The city attorney’s office on Friday charged Hansen with misdemeanor counts of assault and property destruction, according to court records. Hansen is set to be formally arraigned on Saturday.
Hansen released a statement Thursday afternoon.
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“I am terribly sorry for my behavior and am very embarrassed by it. I owe a bunch of people apologies, first and foremost to our Uber driver, who was just trying to get us home safely,” the statement said. “ I hope I can make that apology in person. I have no excuse, and accept responsibility for my actions. I made a boneheaded move last night, and I am sorry.”
Neither the Uber driver nor his wife — whose car Hansen allegedly damaged — wanted to comment about the incident, the wife said Friday. Police estimated damages to the woman’s car at about $1,500.
According to a police report, Hansen and his wife, stepdaughter and son-in-law were picked up by Uber driver from the 2200 block of Northwest Market Street sometime after 2 a.m. The driver started to take Hansen and his family to Shoreline when the driver “was notified the trip had been canceled in the Uber application,” the police report said. “This meant if he continued the trip, he would not be paid.”
When the driver asked his passengers to request another ride through Uber’s app, they instead offered to pay him cash, the report said. The driver informed the group that Uber didn’t allow him to accept cash, then stopped his Toyota Avalon in the 5800 block of 20th Avenue Northwest to let the passengers out.
That’s when Hansen allegedly became angry.
Hansen and his son-in-law spat on the driver’s head and the back of the driver’s seat, the police report said. Hansen also “kicked the outside of the rear of the passenger side of the vehicle, causing a dent,” the report states.
“A woman … who appeared to be the daughter also was begging her father to stop,” the report added.
The Uber driver drove away, parked nearby and called police. When officers arrived about 2:26 a.m., The driver “wiped what appeared to be fluid off the right side of his head as we spoke,” Heller later wrote.
About 20 minutes later, officers arrived at Hansen’s home in Shoreline, where they initially spoke with Hansen’s son-in-law. He also appeared “heavily intoxicated,” the report said, adding that he refused to allow officers to enter the home and denied that the altercation with the driver occurred. Hansen came outside a few minutes later.
“I explained we were here to hear his side of the story,” Heller reported. “He said, ‘What story?’ He was obviously intoxicated.”
Hansen then “vociferously declared that he did not know what I was talking about, that he got a ride from ‘an Uber guy’ … he took me home, we’re here, we had Norwegian Independence Day, everybody’s happy, I’ve got my family home, we’re safe and sound, that’s it!”
Hansen then denied that any altercation occurred, telling officers, “That means we’re done!” He then “clapped his hands conclusively,” the report said.
After officers told him they weren’t done, Hansen tried to go into his house and initially resisted arrest, police said. He later told officers “he thought he kicked the vehicle’s tire,” Heller added in the report. “After I told him there was a dent, Hansen stated, ‘Of course I’ll pay for it!’ ”
Hansen — who has gained fame as the hard-charging Norwegian-American skipper of the Seattle-based fishing vessel The Northwestern on the cable TV series “The Deadliest Catch” — has strong ties to Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood and its Norwegian heritage.
Ballard celebrated Syttende Mai — its popular festival for Norway’s Constitution Day — late into the night Wednesday and early Thursday. The annual celebration includes a parade and various community events. Hansen has been a celebrity participant in past Syttende Mai festivities.
Hansen faces other legal troubles. His estranged daughter, Melissa Eckstrom, 29, is now suing the cable TV star, claiming her father sexually abused her as a toddler, while her parents were divorcing nearly three decades ago.
Hansen has vehemently denied the allegations, labeling them “an old-fashioned shakedown.”
The case is now in legal limbo after the state court of appeals ruled Thursday it will review a King County judge’s ruling to allow Eckstrom’s civil suit against Hansen to go to trial. Hansen contends a judge’s 1992 custody ruling that found he didn’t commit the abuse should prevent a new trial; Eckstrom contends she deserves her day in court.
Eckstrom’s lawsuit prompted Snohomish County prosecutors to recently re-examine the abuse allegations, which date back to 1990. The prosecutor’s office last month decided the case did not warrant the filing of criminal charges.