Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman is likely to learn in the next few weeks whether he will be charged with any or both of two felony charges stemming from his involvement in an October car crash in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue.
Dan Donohoe, media relations manager for the King County prosecuting attorney, told me Monday afternoon Coleman’s case was referred to his office earlier Monday and it is reviewing it. Donohoe said the potential charges are vehicular assault and hit and run, both felonies, and that the county prosecutor’s review is expected to “probably take a few weeks.”
Within the hour after Donohoe’s news, the Bellevue Police Department released its report on the Oct. 14 crash involving Coleman’s Dodge Ram pickup truck and a Honda Civic. The police report states Coleman admitted smoking “Spice,” a common nickname for synthetic marijuana, about an hour before the crash. Police say Coleman was driving 60 miles per hour in a 35-mph zone on a city street before he slammed his truck into the back of the Honda. The report states Coleman kept the accelerator down “100%” after the initial contact and drove the Civic off the road approximately 260 feet, causing it to flip over and leaving the driver with a head injury and broken clavicle.
Crux of Bellevue PD's case of 2 felonies vs #Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman from its police report of Oct 2-car crash pic.twitter.com/AxGFmCKbrNGregg Bell (@gbellseattle) January 25, 2016
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The incident happened about 6:20 p.m. on a Wednesday in the 13600 block of SE 36th Street in Bellevue on an eastbound incline just east of Factoria Mall. That was about 2 1/2 hours after Coleman finished a practice at team headquarters, 10 minutes away in Renton. The time he admitted to smoking “Spice,” according to police,” was an hour or so following Seahawks practice that day.
Bellevue’s PD report stated a later search of Coleman’s truck found three unopened bags “of Synthetic Cannabinoids labeled ‘Mad Pitbulls.’” It also listed 25 witnesses and said Coleman’s “rash and heedless” driving was “indifferent to the consequences and that he was impaired by the drug he had smoked.”
The Bellevue Police Department had said in the last couple months that it was still waiting on full toxicology reports to come back from the state before deciding whether to refer the case to the county prosecutor. Coleman, primarily a blocking back and special-teams mainstay, was suspended by the team the day after the crash, Oct. 15, then reinstated to the Seahawks’ roster on Oct. 20. He did not play in the Oct. 18 loss to Carolina, then played in the Seahawks’ final 12 games of the season, including two playoff games.
Bellevue PD referred the case Monday, eight days after the Seahawks’ season ending with a playoff loss at Carolina. Coleman, who had been briefly jailed and suspended by the team the week of the crash, played in that final game. He tried to get Panthers’ linebacker Thomas Davis to fumble the onside kick he recovered late in the game to seal the end to Seattle’s season.
Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett will hold a press conference Tuesday morning in his city to further talk about the case. The timing of the charges -- more than three months after the crash and a week after the Seahawks’ season ended -- seems to be a relevant question.
Coleman is alleged to have walked away from the wreck barefoot “despite witnesses telling him to remain,” the police report states. Bellevue police said its officers found Coleman standing on the side of the road about two blocks away from the crash site. He was not wearing shoes. Witnesses gave conflicting reports whether Coleman ran or walked from the scene; one said in the police report released Monday that Coleman was “incoherent.”
Coleman was booked into the King County Jail in Seattle early on a Thursday and was denied bail, only days after he played for Seattle in its overtime loss at Cincinnati. The player’s attorneys said then their client may have fallen asleep behind the wheel.
“The decision to charge Mr. Coleman remains with King County prosecutors,” Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett said on Oct. 15. “That decision will be made once they have a chance to review our completed investigation. This could take several weeks.”