A legal adviser for the Tacoma Police Department has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Michael J. Smith, a deputy city attorney for Tacoma, is on paid administrative leave, pending an internal personnel review, the city said in a release Wednesday.
Smith was arrested Saturday for suspicion of DUI, and for an alleged hit and run that caused property damage, according to the city.
He was not immediately reachable for comment.
Pierce County sheriff’s spokeswoman Lynelle Anderson said the arrest happened in University Place. She gave this account:
A deputy stopped about 1:20 a.m. on the side of the street in the 13800 block of Grandview Drive West saw in the rearview mirror what appeared to be a damaged Toyota pickup approaching.
The truck left the street and almost hit the parked patrol car on the shoulder. The pickup swerved at the last minute and continued on, straddling the centerline for a few blocks.
Two of its tires were flat.
The deputy pulled the truck over, and found Smith behind the wheel, an open beer in the cup holder and a case of beer in the passenger seat.
Smith smelled of alcohol, his eyes were watery and bloodshot and his head was bobbing. His blood alcohol level was “well over the legal limit” of 0.08, Anderson said, though she didn’t know by how much.
Smith tried to put the beer bottle on the floor of the truck and the case of beer under a seat.
Asked for the usual information, he gave only his driver’s license to the deputy, and at one point tried to get out of the truck.
Another deputy found debris from the truck by a utility pole and traffic sign that Smith had apparently hit in the 9100 block of Cirque Drive West.
The Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office is reviewing the case for possible misdemeanor charges.
The city statement said: “Mr. Smith’s duties associated with the Tacoma Police Department have been reassigned during this process.”