Scott Noble, who resigned as King County assessor on Thursday, will serve eight months in jail for a drunken crash on Interstate 5 that injured him and two women.

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Scott Noble, who resigned as King County assessor Thursday, will serve eight months in jail for a drunken crash on Interstate 5 that injured him and two women.

King County Superior Court Judge Michael Fox will allow Noble to serve his time under work release. He will also serve one year’s probation.

Noble struggled to hold back tears, and sobbed as he apologized for the crash.

“I’m very sorry for the injuries” to the women in the other car, he said. The victims did not attend the sentencing.

“It won’t happen again,” he said.

Prosecutors recommended nine months in jail, the toughest sentence possible after two felony charges of vehicular assault were reduced to a single charge as part of a plea agreement when Noble pleaded guilty last month. Noble’s lawyers asked for three months of work release.

Noble acknowledged in court papers that he has had a drinking problem for more than 20 years and has begun an outpatient treatment program that would have been required after his release from jail.

Asked by the judge about his drinking, he said, “The vast majority of time I was sober. I wasn’t perfect.”

Fox said he was troubled that the former assessor would drink and drive despite his history of alcoholism. “There has simply got to be some recognition of the fact that we make choices,” he said. “We make choices about taking the first drink if we have an alcohol problem and we make a choice to get into a car.”

Under work release, Noble will be allowed to leave jail during the day to work, but will spend nights in lockup. A memorandum submitted by his lawyers said he has lined up a new job, as a front-desk receptionist at a retail business. Noble told the judge he plans to leave an ignition interlock device on his car “forever.”

Noble, 58, was severely injured and the two women in the other vehicle suffered broken bones in a head-on collision when Noble drove the wrong way on Interstate 5 in Federal Way early the morning of Jan. 18.

Blood drawn from him at the scene showed an alcohol level of 0.22 percent, almost three times the limit, the State Patrol reported.

State Trooper Eric Purcell reported that Noble had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and that he said, “I don’t know how much I had to drink; I had too much.” After medics removed him from his SUV, Noble asked how badly the victims in the other vehicle were hurt, cried and apologized, the trooper wrote.

Noble resigned effective the end of the workday Thursday, turning his duties over to his chief deputy, Rich Medved. “I’m carrying on the duties of the assessor,” Medved said today.

In waiting until this week to resign, Noble resisted requests from Medved and Metropolitan King County Council Chairman Dow Constantine that he quit by June 1 so a primary election could be held. Because he resigned later, a November election will be held without a primary.

Medved and Seattle Port Commissioner Lloyd Hara plan to run for election to the final two years of Noble’s four-year term.

The Metropolitan King County Council will appoint an assessor next month to serve until the election.

Staff reporter Jennifer Sullivan contributed to this report.

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com