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Police: Enough evidence at crash scene to suspect Derrick Coleman may have been impaired

Seahawks' Derrick Coleman is being held on suspicion of vehicular assault and felony hit and run. (AP)

The Bellevue Police Department says Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman was cooperative during its preliminary investigation following a two-car accident Wednesday night but that there was enough evidence at the scene “to lead us to suspect that perhaps drugs or alcohol could be involved.”

Coleman was arrested Wednesday night in Bellevue on suspicion of vehicular assault and felony hit and run. Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett said at a press conference Thursday afternoon that the focal point of the investigation will be why the 24-year-old left the scene. Mylett said three witnesses were separately brought to the scene and identified Coleman as one of the drivers. One witness told officers that he helped Coleman out of the vehicle.

Related: Attorney says concussion may have been why Coleman fled

Mylett said there are conflicting reports from witnesses as to whether Coleman walked or ran away from the crash.

“Either way, he left the scene of an accident where a person was injured and he had a duty under Washington law to stop and render aid,” he said. “He also had the duty to provide his personal information, his driver’s license number and insurance and he failed to do that.”

Mylett said that a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) was called in “shortly after we made contact with Mr. Coleman” and that sobriety tests were given. He added that officers obtained a warrant to get a blood sample that would determine whether alcohol or drugs played a role in the collision.

Mylett said it isn’t common practice to call in a drug expert.

“It’s the facts and circumstances that are present to the officer at the time and there was enough to warrant bringing that in,” he said.

“It’s not any one cue or clue,” he added. “It’s all of them combined that lead the officer to believe, based on scientific methodology that this person is possibly under the influence of whatever the DRE determines him to be under.”

About an hour after accident, an officer arrived on the scene with his K9 officer. Mylett said the K9 followed a scent from Coleman’s vehicle directly to Coleman.

“He picked up a scent in the vehicle and whatever that scent was, whether it was his person or the contents of the vehicle, whatever that scent was, led the dog directly to our patrol unit some two blocks away where Mr. Coleman was seated,” he said.

The crash is being investigated by Bellevue Police Departments Traffic Collision unit. Both involved vehicles were impounded for forensic investigation.

“It’s recommended that we get a search warrant before we go into the vehicle to look for any other evidence, so we are in the process of obtaining that search warrant to get inside his vehicle and see if there is any other evidence that we are not aware of,” he said.

Mylett said police will do a reconstruction of the accident scene to determine the speed of impact, but witnesses said it was “a very high rate of speed” in a 35 mph zone.