Crime

Lakewood cop arrested for DUI after crashing police car in Gig Harbor

A Lakewood police officer was arrested for driving under the influence after crashing his police vehicle in Gig Harbor.

Officer Eric Bell was arrested Sept. 23 and released the same day after the single-vehicle wreck in the 7800 block of Wagner Way NW, according to John Unfred, an assistant chief with the Lakewood Police Department.

Gig Harbor police responded to the crash at about 9 p.m., Unfred said. They found the vehicle crashed off the roadway. Nearby, they found the driver who appeared intoxicated.

“Upon further investigation, it was found that the driver was an off-duty Lakewood PD officer and that the involved vehicle belonged to the City of Lakewood,” Unfred said in a statement.

The accident investigation was turned over to the Washington State Patrol. WSP spokeswoman Johnna Batiste confirmed the arrest but did not have further details.

Bell was placed on administrative leave from his job pending the outcome of an internal investigation, Unfred said.

Unfred said Bell had just dropped his children off with his ex-wife and was returning home at the time of the incident. He was off duty, Unfred said.

Bell has been in law enforcement for approximately 20 years, including 14 with the Lakewood Police Department, Unfred said.

The unmarked police vehicle Bell was driving was a total loss, Unfred said.

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541, @crsailor
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