Bellevue PD still waiting on toxicology results in Derrick Coleman case
The Bellevue Police Department says it’s waiting on one additional round of blood testing before finalizing a report for the prosecutor’s office on whether to charge Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman, who was involved in a major traffic accident in October.
Bellevue police spokesperson Seth Tyler says police are “getting close to wrapping things up,” but that they’re still waiting on a toxicology report.
Coleman was arrested Oct. 15 on suspicion of vehicular assault and felony hit-and-run in Bellevue and released from jail two days later without any charges filed, pending an ongoing investigation into the crash.
Bellevue police said the 25-year-old Coleman was speeding and struck another vehicle, causing it to go up an embankment and flip onto its roof. Police said the other driver was seriously injured, and witnesses claimed Coleman, who is legally deaf, left the scene without rendering aid.
Dan Donohoe of the King County Prosecutor’s Office said at the time that the investigation, including full toxicology test results, would take at least a month. He said Monday that the investigation is largely complete, other than receiving the toxicology results.
“That’s one of the things we had been waiting for was the result of the toxicology,” he said. “… We will review and have a decision, but there has not been a decision in the case yet.”
Tyler said Coleman’s blood work was sent to two separate labs, but would not say which ones. He said police “didn’t suspect alcohol in the case,” which meant the blood work needed to be sent to “specific labs.”
“Because of the nature of the case, the sample was sent to an independent lab to run a full spectrum scan, as well as to have a second independent verification of the sample,” he said.
All of the state’s blood work goes through the Toxicology Lab Division for the Washington State Patrol, with the lab handling more than 13,000 DUI and death investigations in 2015, according to Lab Manager Brianna Peterson. Peterson said Monday that there is no backup in lab testing and that Coleman’s report has been completed with the results sent back to Bellevue, though she declined to say when that occurred.
Peterson said testing time is case dependent, but the average turnaround is 18 days.
“In general, DUI cases will be completed within 60 days,” she said.
Peterson said the lab takes in about 100 cases each day and works on a first-come, first-serve basis unless specifically requested. She said authorities requested Coleman’s sample be a “high-profile rush,” also known as STAT, case, which she said are not uncommon.
According to WSP lab policy, STAT requests can be made for DUI cases where the arrest results from an accident involving serious bodily injury to another person or when the “public has an elevated level of interest in the outcome of the testing due to media reports, the nature of the case, individuals associated with the case or a combination of these factors.”
Tyler said Bellevue PD would likely look into why the second lab has taken so long to complete the work, but that it was a “complex” investigation.
“The lab results may take 18 days, but this is a pretty complex crash investigation so there’s a lot of pieces that have to be put together before we can call it closed,” Tyler said. “… There are certain parts that are open and active. That’s why it’s taken so long.”
After initially suspending Coleman, the Seahawks reinstated the fullback four days later. Coach Pete Carroll cited Coleman’s explanation of the incident and additional information the team gathered about it as factors in the decision to lift the suspension.
Coleman’s attorney, Steve Hayne, said Monday that the toxicology results “must be back” and is still confident in his client, though he hasn’t heard anything new from law enforcement.
“I’d be shocked if there was anything present (in his blood), so I assume the reason we haven’t heard anything, and why they haven’t had any charges filed, is because they haven’t completed their investigation or they don’t have enough evidence to charge,” he said. “… We’ve completed our investigation now we’re just waiting for them to complete theirs.”