By Rikki King Herald Writer
MILL CREEK — A King County sheriff’s deputy reportedly had taken prescription sleeping pills before a Feb. 28 on-duty crash in Mill Creek, according to court papers.
Mark J. Rockwood, 47, has been charged in Snohomish County district court with driving under the influence and hit-and-run. Both allegations are misdemeanors.
After his arrest, Rockwood was placed on leave from the King County Sheriff’s Office. He has since returned to patrol in the city of Shoreline, which contracts with the county for police services, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said.
The internal investigation has wrapped up and is being reviewed. No decision has been made on potential discipline.
Rockwood was in a Shoreline patrol car in south Snohomish County when several people called 911 to report him driving erratically, according to the arrest reports. The calls started at 6:35 a.m.
Callers told dispatchers that Rockwood was stopping at green lights, running red lights and stop signs, and swerving. Some described him as being slumped over, with his eyes closed.
When he stopped at an intersection, a driver knocked on the deputy’s window, trying to wake him up.
Just after 7 a.m., Rockwood allegedly rear-ended a car in Mill Creek. His police jumpsuit was unzipped and his bulletproof vest was on wrong, according to the charges. He was unable to tell investigators why his duty weapon wasn’t in his holster or his patrol car.
Officers said Rockwood appeared “extremely confused and disoriented” and had difficulty standing.
After being arrested, Rockwood reportedly fell asleep in the back of a police car on the way to the station.
Prosecutors allege that Rockwood failed various sobriety tests and was unable to walk or stand without wobbling or swaying. He reportedly fell asleep again while investigators were checking for potential evidence of drug use, including shining a flashlight up his nose.
Rockwood allegedly told officers he took two prescription sleeping pills at 10:30 p.m.
He later told them he had taken at least four sleeping pills between midnight and 2 a.m.
He also said he had taken anti-anxiety medications, as well as an anti-depressant around 4 a.m.
A blood test showed an anti-depressant, cold medicine and prescription sleep aids in Rockwood’s system, prosecutors allege. There was no evidence of alcohol or a medical emergency that could have contributed to the crash.
Rockwood’s police firearm was found in his personal sport utility vehicle, which was parked near Lynnwood.
When investigators found the SUV, it appeared to have been in a recent collision.
The SUV’s side mirror was torn off. It had a flat tire, and dirt and grass was stuck in the bumper and undercarriage, records show.
Investigators believe Rockwood struck a stop sign or something similar on his way to work and kept going, according to the charges.
Rockwood has been on the force for more than 19 years. A state database Thursday showed no restrictions were placed on his driver’s license.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; email@example.com.