County councilman pleads guilty in DUI case

MOUNT VERNON — Snohomish County Councilman Brian Sullivan on Tuesday took responsibility for last summer’s drunken-driving arrest in Mukilteo, pleading guilty and accepting an array of penalties.

Sullivan plans to pay a $900 fine and in March to serve a mandatory day in jail in Skagit County.

Sullivan’s DUI plea and sentencing in Skagit County District Court took less than 10 minutes. The Mukilteo city case was moved to Mount Vernon to avoid any potential conflicts of interest in Snohomish County, where Sullivan has been a fixture in government for three decades.

“First, let me say, your honor, I’d like to apologize to my community and to my children,” Sullivan told Judge Warren Gilbert ahead of his sentencing. “I think when you make public policy, you talk the talk, and sometimes it’s time to walk the walk. Thank you for your indulgence.”

In addition to the fine and brief jail stint, Sullivan will remain on probation for five years and must pay a $223 fee that Mukilteo and some other cities assess on DUI cases.

Sullivan already has participated in a victim’s panel, taken an alcohol-treatment course and has had an interlock alcohol-testing device installed in his car.

“This has been a traumatic event for him,” defense attorney Mark Garka told the judge, referencing the media attention brought by the case involving a public official. “He’s been very diligent about getting these things done.”

Garka and Mukilteo city prosecutor H. James Zachor earlier had agreed to recommend terms of the sentence.

“Nothing varied from what we normally do for anybody,” said Zachor, senior prosecutor for Edmonds law firm Zachor &Thomas, which handles cases for Mukilteo and several other Snohomish County cities.

Sullivan said the resolution of his case would not affect his current role on the County Council. He also offered no excuses.

“It’s not what happens to you in life; it’s what you do about it,” Sullivan said afterward.

Sullivan’s legal trouble stemmed from a traffic stop near the Mukilteo Speedway the evening of July 26.

Mukilteo police had been called about a car driving “all over the road.” A witness told dispatchers the car turned west from the Speedway onto Chennault Beach Road, then stopped in front of a business, police said.

An officer found a Honda Civic in front of the business and later identified the driver as Sullivan, police said. It was not a county car.

Sullivan told the officer he was headed home from Buck’s American Cafe in Everett. The councilman said he had started drinking around 3:30 p.m. and had a couple of glasses of wine. He later acknowledged that he had consumed about four glasses of wine, a Mukilteo police report says. The stop occurred about 8 p.m.

After performing field-sobriety tests, the officer arrested Sullivan for investigation of DUI. At the Mukilteo Police Department, Sullivan’s breath samples twice measured about 0.16, according to the police report. That’s twice the legal limit. Following standard practice, police issued Sullivan a DUI citation and released him.

Sullivan did not mention his political position until after the officer asked why he was so upset about the arrest, according to the police report. That happened as the breath tests were under way.

Sullivan also thanked the officer for doing a good job, the report says.

Sullivan, 54, of Mukilteo, is in his second term on the Snohomish Council, where he represents people in Everett, Mukilteo and Tulalip.

Prior to joining the County Council, he already had compiled a lengthy political resume. He was Mukilteo’s mayor for two terms and led the city when it annexed Harbour Pointe into city limits. He was elected to the Legislature in 2001 and won a seat on the Snohomish County Council in 2007. He won re-election to the County Council in 2011.

Sullivan also was a longtime county employee and owned and operated a pizza restaurant and brewery in Mukilteo for 14 years.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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