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On-duty sheriff's deputy arrested in Newcastle for suspicion of drug impairment

An on-duty King County Sheriff's deputy was arrested on New Year's Eve for suspicion of being high on drugs after he was reported slumped over the wheel of his patrol car in a Newcastle parking lot.

The sheriff's office reports the 46-year-old deputy and 15-year veteran of the department was reported "passed out at the wheel" of his patrol car by a passerby, who also stated they were unable to wake him.

Another sheriff's deputy, captain and sergeant responded to the Starbuck's parking lot at Newcastle Way and Coal Creek Parkway, where they were able to rouse the passed-out deputy and determine he was impaired by something other than alcohol, a news release states.

Bellevue Police Lt. Marcia Harnden, who has worked eight out of the past 10 New Year's Eve patrols and is a trained drug recognition expert, was called to the scene to perform the examination of the sheriff's deputy.

After Harnden determined the deputy was under the influence of some type of drug, he was arrested for physical control of a motor vehicle and taken to the Bellevue Police Department for a blood draw, which was granted under a search warrant.

The Bellevue Police Department was hosting a DUI holiday emphasis patrol in the city with the Washington State Patrol making troopers and its mobile intake unit available at City Hall for processing suspected drunk and drug-impaired drivers.

Following the blood draw, the deputy was released and will remain on administrative leave pending the conclusion of an administrative investigation.

His impounded patrol vehicle will be searched for further evidence once a search warrant is obtained later this week, the release states. The Bellevue Police Department is heading the criminal investigation.

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