Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman remained suspended from the team and in jail Thursday night while under investigation for two felony charges from a two-vehicle collision.
Meanwhile, Bellevue police waited for results from a blood test and sought another warrant to search the vehicle that Coleman crashed in the Seattle suburbs Wednesday night, leaving another driver with “serious but not life-threatening” injuries.
That was what Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett described Thursday afternoon.
Coleman is alleged to have walked away from the wreck, in which he was driving the green Dodge Ram pickup registered in his name at what the chief said was a “very high rate of speed” before crashing into the back of a Honda Civic.
The impact sent the Honda up an embankment “and onto a retaining wall, where it came to rest upside down,” Mylett said.
The driver of the Honda was hospitalized with what reportedly may be a broken collarbone.
Bellevue police found Coleman standing on the side of the road about two blocks away from the crash site. He was not wearing shoes. Witnesses gave conflicting reports whether Coleman ran or walked from the scene. Police charged Coleman with felony vehicular assault and felony hit-and-run.
The incident happened about 6:20 p.m. Wednesday in the 13600 block of SE 36th Street in Bellevue on an eastbound incline just east of Factoria Mall. That was about 2 1/2 hours after Coleman finished a practice at team headquarters, 10 minutes away in Renton.
Coleman was booked into the King County Jail in Seattle early Thursday and was denied bail, only days after he played for Seattle in its overtime loss at Cincinnati.
The player’s attorneys said their client may have fallen asleep behind the wheel.
“The decision to charge Mr. Coleman remains with King County prosecutors,” Mylett said. “That decision will be made once they have a chance to review our completed investigation. This could take several weeks.”
At a press conference at Bellevue City Hall on Thursday, Mylett said evidence at the accident scene caused police to summon a drug-recognition expert and to conduct a blood test at nearby Overlake Hospital to determine if alcohol or other drugs were a factor in Coleman’s crash.
The Seahawks were quick to suspend their primary blocking back “indefinitely,” the team said, pending the investigation’s results.
Coach Pete Carroll doesn’t speak to the media on Thursdays; he is scheduled to, as usual, on Friday.
Coleman’s agents, Derrick Fox and Mark Bloom, issued the following statement Thursday: “On the evening of October 15, 2015, Seattle Seahawk fullback Derrick Coleman Jr. was involved in a two-car collision soon after leaving a team meeting. While the facts of the case are still being determined, it seems Derrick may have fallen asleep while driving home from a Seahawks’ facility.
“The health and well-being of all involved is our primary concern, and we are thankful to report that both parties are expected to make a full recovery. We will continue to work closely with the local officials while a full investigation is being conducted.”
Mylett said Coleman was cooperative when he approached an officer who had been searching for him for about eight minutes, using witnesses’ descriptions of the pickup’s driver. The fullback did not report any injuries, Mylett said.
As for why Coleman left the accident scene, Mylett said he did not know.
“That will be a focus of the investigation,” the police chief said, adding that his department wants to bring Coleman back in for more questioning.
The police chief emphasized that Coleman broke Washington law by not remaining at the accident scene and not making an attempt to render aid to the injured driver.
Coleman is legally deaf. Mylett said his understanding is that Coleman had his hearing aids in at the time of and after the accident, and that he understood all police instructions given to him, but that there may have been a concern on battery function in one of the hearing aids.
Coleman remained without bail in the Seattle jail as of Thursday night. Mylett said that may be because Coleman had yet to appear before a judge.
The Seahawks got a roster exemption for him for Sunday’s home game against Carolina. They re-signed wide receiver/quarterback B.J. Daniels to fill that spot.
Coleman is in his fourth season with the Seahawks. He has started two games and appeared in all five this season as Seattle’s primary blocking back and special-teams mainstay. He spent the 2012 season on the practice squad before making the 53-man roster in 2013. A broken foot in October last year caused him to miss the final 11 games of the 2014 season, plus Seattle’s playoff run.
Coleman’s suspension means that backup Will Tukuafu likely will be Seattle’s fullback against Carolina.