Two veteran Seattle police officers are on paid administrative leave after being arrested on suspicion of a hit-and-run and driving under the influence early Monday morning.
A Seattle Police Department spokesman said a citizen reported a collision just after midnight Monday in the 5300 block of 1st Avenue South. The witness told police a woman was driving a Nissan Altima when she struck a light pole. She stopped the car and switched seats with a male passenger, who then drove off.
Police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said officers did an area check and found the Altima a few blocks away with noticeable front-end damage. It was parked two to three feet from the curb with the engine still running. Officers recognized the pair in the car as off-duty Seattle police officers.
According to a police report, there was a strong smell of intoxicants coming from the vehicle.
Officers questioned the male occupant, who was identified by Sgt. Whitcomb as a veteran special operations officer. When asked at the scene if he "felt buzzed," the off-duty officer replied "maybe." When asked if he should have been behind the wheel, he said "Probably not."
The male officer was booked into jail for investigation of DUI /physical control and hit and run. A breathalyzer test placed his blood alcohol level at .161, more than double the legal limit of .08.
The female occupant, described as a veteran patrol officer, was also arrested for DUI/hit and run. Once in handcuffs, according to the report, she unleashed a curse-filled tirade that included several mentions of male genitalia. She repeatedly told officers she was "going to pee her pants."
"[The female officer] told me I was an [expletive]," the arresting officer wrote in his report. "She gave me the middle finger several times."
According to the report, the female officer had a blood alcohol level of .247.
It is still unclear what the pair hit with the Altima, despite the witness report.
The case has been referred to the Seattle City Attorney's Office for charges. According to Sgt. Whitcomb, the Office of Professional Accountability will launch an internal investigation into the incident.