Police arrested an on-duty King County Sheriff’s deputy Tuesday night after a citizen called to report the deputy passed out in his parked patrol car in Newcastle.
The incident occurred about 9:30 p.m. in the parking lot of a Starbucks near Newcastle Way and Coal Creek Parkway. The citizen called 911 to report finding the deputy hunched over the steering wheel of his marked police car. The citizen couldn’t wake him.
Three King County deputies arrived and eventually roused the deputy, noticing ”signs of impairment,” King County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cindi West said in a news release.
Alcohol wasn’t suspected, but a Bellevue police drug-recognition expert called to the scene believed the deputy was “under the influence of some sort of drug, possibly a narcotic,” West said.
Police arrested the deputy for physical control of a vehicle — the equivalent of driving under the influence when no driving is observed, West said. After a search warrant was obtained to draw his blood, the deputy was booked and released by Bellevue police. His patrol car was towed, West said.
The 46-old deputy, a 15-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, is assigned to southeast King County. The Sheriff’s Office will conduct an administrative investigation while Bellevue police will handle the criminal investigation, West said. The deputy has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.