SEATTLE — Former Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman was charged Friday with felony hit and run and vehicular assault for a car crash last October.
Coleman is scheduled to be arraigned June 16. He could face 12 to 16 months behind bars if convicted of both charges. Prosecutors received the case from the Bellevue Police Department in January and after months of review and further investigation announced the charges Friday.
During the investigation, Coleman told police he had smoked "Spice" — lumped in as synthetic marijuana — about an hour before the crash. Coleman's truck was travelling at 60 mph in a 35 mph zone and hit a Honda Civic. The driver of the Civic suffered a broken collarbone when his car flipped over and charging documents said he continues to have symptoms related to his injuries.
Synthetic marijuana is not actually marijuana, but typically consists of designer drugs — sometimes similar to amphetamines — sprayed onto plant matter, then smoked.
Messages left for Coleman's attorney seeking comment Friday were not immediately returned.
Police said they discovered a lighter, a glass spoon pipe with tarry residue, one open bag of "synthetic cannabinoid" and three unopened bags of "synthetic cannabinoid" in Coleman's truck after the crash. The police report also said Coleman showed signs of being impaired during field sobriety tests, but blood tests taken several hours after the crash did not show the drug Coleman acknowledged taking.
Prior to the crash, traffic cameras in the area twice captured Coleman driving out of his lane. Witnesses described Coleman as "aggravated" and "incoherent" following the accident and said he fled barefoot despite being told to stay, according to the police report. Police discovered Coleman a short distance from the crash and described him as clam and co-operative.
Coleman completed his fourth season with the Seahawks, but was not re-signed by the team after last season, making him a free agent. He was on Seattle's practice squad in 2012 before making the 53-man roster in 2013. Coleman missed 11 games and the playoffs last season because of a broken foot.
Coleman is legally deaf and his football success has made him an inspirational figure. He has been featured in TV commercials and wrote a book.
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