After the crash, Coleman told Bellevue police he had smoked “spice,” a synthetic designer drug with effects similar to marijuana, about an hour earlier, according to the charges.
Former Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman pleaded guilty Thursday morning to vehicular-assault and hit-and-run charges in connection with an injury crash a year ago in Bellevue.
Under a plea agreement, the charges were amended and could mean Coleman will avoid jail time in exchange for community service. Sentencing is set for Oct. 14.
Police said Coleman claimed to have smoked “spice,” a synthetic designer drug with effects similar to marijuana, about an hour before the October 2015 crash in Bellevue’s Lakemont neighborhood.
The driver of the other vehicle, Kristopher Fine, 56, suffered a broken collarbone when his car overturned, according to the criminal charges.
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Coleman, 25, had pleaded not guilty to the charges in June, the same month he was charged. Court records show the state and Coleman’s defense “reached a resolution” Sept. 12 and set Thursday for Coleman to enter a guilty plea.
Under the plea agreement, the hit-and-run charge was amended from a felony to a gross misdemeanor. As for vehicular assault, he is being charged for “disregard for the safety of others.”
Under the state’s vehicular-assault statute, drivers can be charged under one of three prongs: Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; driving in a reckless manner; or driving with disregard for the safety of others.
The state and defense entered a joint recommendation that Coleman be granted a first-time offender waiver on the felony, in which he would be required to serve 240 hours of community restitution in six months and 12 months of community supervision. He also agreed to pay restitution to Fine and for any property damage caused by the crash.
Coleman also will be required to undergo a substance-abuse evaluation and to refrain from using alcohol and nonprescribed drugs, including marijuana and synthetic cannaboids.
According to charging documents, witnesses reported seeing Coleman accelerate his Dodge Ram pickup in a 35-mph zone, shifting lanes erratically before crashing into the back of another vehicle on Oct. 14, 2015. Police say Coleman was traveling at speeds greater than 60 mph and did not apply his brakes.
Several witnesses described Coleman as “aggravated, delirious and incoherent” after the crash, according to Bellevue police.
The charges alleged 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 said 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 said. At that point, the police arrested Coleman.
Police drew blood more than six hours after the crash, and tests didn’t reveal any of the drugs Coleman admitted to taking.
Coleman’s defense attorneys have criticized Bellevue Police Chief Stephen Mylett for releasing the initial investigation report and holding a news conference to answer questions.
Mylett cited state public-records laws that require police to release investigative records if a case has been referred to a prosecutor for a charging decision. The state Supreme Court in 2010 affirmed that police records are public.
Coleman was suspended by the Seahawks after the accident and sat out a game against Carolina on Oct. 18 as a result. He was inactive the following week because of a concussion suffered in the accident.
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,’’ detailing his journey to the NFL, was published last summer.
Coleman finished his third full season with the Seahawks last year and is an unrestricted free agent.