The ex-Seattle Seahawks could face of to 16 years in prison if convicted of felony hit-and-run and vehicular assault.
Former Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman pleaded not guilty Thursday to felony hit-and-run and vehicular assault in connection with a car crash in October that injured another driver.
Coleman entered the pleas during his arraignment in King County Superior Court, according to KOMO-TV. He could face up to 16 months behind bars if convicted of both charges.
The charges were filed earlier this month.
According to Bellevue police, Coleman claimed to have smoked “spice,” a synthetic designer drug with effects similar to marijuana, about an hour before the Oct. 14 crash, charging papers say. The driver of the other vehicle, a 56-year-old man, suffered a broken collarbone in the collision.
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Police found an opened plastic packet labeled “F’d up” and two unopened packets labeled “Mad Pitbulls” in the cab of Coleman’s 2015 Dodge Ram. A toxicology report confirmed that the substances were synthetic marijuana. Neither drug is illegal under Washington drug classifications.
Investigators described Coleman as being “calm and cooperative” after the crash.
According to the charges, witnesses saw Coleman accelerate while driving in the 13500 block of Southeast 36th Street and said he was shifting lanes erratically before crashing into the back of a vehicle.
Police say Coleman was traveling at speeds greater than 60 mph in the 35 mph zone and did not apply his brakes.
Several witnesses described Coleman as “aggravated, delirious and incoherent” after the crash, police said.
According to charges, Coleman fled barefoot down the block and did not call 911. A police officer identified Coleman within 10 minutes of the crash, and Coleman told the officer he was trying to contact his agent.
Police say Coleman, who is deaf, was able to understand their questions and cooperated.
Police gave Coleman a field sobriety test, and Coleman swayed, lost his balance and showed signs of impairment, the charges allege. He was then arrested.
Police drew blood more than six hours after the crash, and tests didn’t reveal any of the drugs Coleman admitted to taking.
Coleman became a fan favorite during the Seahawks’ 2013 run to the Super Bowl with an inspirational story of having overcome a hearing impairment to emerge as the team’s starting fullback and a key special-teams player.
He lost most of his hearing around the age of 3 and uses hearing aids. His autobiography, “No Excuses,’’ detailed his journey to the NFL.
Coleman finished his third full season with the Seahawks last year and is now a restricted free agent.