Derrick Coleman, a former Seahawks fullback, has been charged with vehicular assault and felony hit-and-run in connection with an October 2015 crash in Bellevue. If convicted of both charges, Coleman, who signed with the Seahawks in December 2012, and played 14 games last season, could face between 12 and 14 months in jail.
Bellevue police said Coleman claimed to have smoked “spice,” a synthetic designer drug with effects similar to marijuana, prior to the accident.
The driver of the other vehicle, a 56-year-old man, suffered a broken collar bone when his car flipped over, according to the charges. Coleman, 25, is scheduled to be arraigned June 16 at the King County Courthouse.
Coleman told officers he had smoked about an hour before the collision. Police found an opened plastic packet labeled “F’d up” and two unopened packets labeled “Mad Pitbulls” in the truck’s cab.
A toxicology report confirmed the substances were synthetic marijuana, but also said that neither is illegal under Washington drug classifications.
Police said that in addition to traveling at high speed in the 35-mph zone, Coleman was shifting lanes erratically before the crash and ran from the scene, despite witnesses telling him to stay.
Coleman’s defense attorneys have been critical of Bellevue Police Chief Stephen Mylett’s decision to release the initial investigation report and to hold a news conference to answer questions.
Coleman became a favorite of the 12s during the Seahawks’ 2013 run to the Super Bowl with an inspirational story of having overcome a hearing impairment. His TV commercial for Duracell batteries became a viral hit. He became the team’s starting fullback and a key special-teams player.
Coleman, who scored a team-high 11 touchdowns his senior year at UCLA under coach Rick Neuheisel, lost most of his hearing at age three, and uses hearing aids. Coleman finished his third full season with the Seahawks last year and is now a restricted free agent.