BELLEVUE, Wash. >> The Seattle Seahawks suspended Derrick Coleman on Thursday after police arrested him in a hit-and-run investigation, but his lawyer insisted that if the fullback left the scene at all it was only because he was dazed.
Coleman was booked into King County Jail in Seattle early Thursday and denied bail until his first court appearance, which was expected Friday afternoon. Bellevue officers said they arrested him because he left the scene of the two-car accident Wednesday evening.
Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett said finding out why Coleman left will be a focus of their investigation.
“Regardless of the reason why, he has a duty to remain at the scene and provide certain information and render aid if he’s able to,” Mylett said.
Coleman’s agents said in a statement “it seems Derrick may have fallen asleep while driving home from a Seahawks’ facility.”
Witnesses told responding officers that Coleman’s truck was speeding through a 35 mph zone when it rear-ended a Honda Civic, Mylett said. After Coleman was helped from his vehicle, witnesses said, he left. Some told officers he ran; others said he walked.
Officers found Coleman two blocks from the crash within 10 minutes based on the descriptions from witnesses. Coleman reported no injuries, while the driver of the other vehicle was taken to a local hospital with serious, non-life-threatening injuries, Mylett said.
Steve Hayne, one of Coleman’s lawyers, stressed how close his client was to the crash when he was arrested.
“He didn’t really leave the scene. He was in shock after the accident,” Hayne said. “He didn’t go very far, and he didn’t flee in any sense.”
Hayne also said he talked extensively with Coleman at the Bellevue Police Department a couple hours after the crash and recorded a video of him to demonstrate his state of mind.
“It’s very clear he was not under the influence of anything,” Hayne said.
Mylett described Coleman as cooperative. He was given field sobriety tests and officers obtained a search warrant to draw blood to screen for drugs and alcohol. Mylett said they were obtaining a warrant to search Coleman’s vehicle.
The King County prosecutor’s office said Coleman was expected to make an initial court appearance Friday afternoon. He is being investigated for vehicular assault and felony hit-and-run.
Bellevue police described the accident on Twitter shortly after it happened as a “heavy rescue.” A police photo of the scene showed the Civic on its roof on a steep, grassy embankment and the truck across a hedge, on its side on the roadway below.
Coleman is in his fourth season with the Seahawks. He was on the 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 written a book that was released this year.
With Coleman suspended, the Seahawks signed wide receiver B.J. Daniels to take his spot on the active roster.
AP writer Gene Johnson contributed from Seattle.