Alcohol off-limits to Olson till 2010

EVERETT — Everett City Councilman Mark Olson can avoid jail if he stays away from alcohol even though he violated an order to stay sober for five years after a drunken-driving arrest in 2003, a judge decided on Tuesday.

Instead of jail time, Olson, 52, must not drink alcohol, and must remain under court supervision and comply with all the conditions of his original agreement for an additional two years. That’s until 2010.

Olson had agreed to stay away from alcohol until 2008 as part of an agreement that allowed him to seek treatment instead of prosecution.

A probation supervisor requested a hearing to determine if Olson was in compliance after it was learned he was being investigated on suspicion of sexually assaulting a woman in June after an evening of drinking.

Olson has been on the City Council since 2001 and his current term ends in 2009. He appeared in Cascade District Court in Arlington.

His attorney Bill Bowman said Olson’s drinking was a misunderstanding. Olson only resumed drinking because he believed he could, Bowman said. His attorney at the time and a mental health provider told Olson he needed to abstain from alcohol for two years, not five.

“He was given bad advice and he should have been more careful, but we’re not talking about a situation where he thumbed his nose at the court” Bowman said.

He has followed all the other conditions of the deferred prosecution as set forth by the court, Bowman said.

Olson was allowed to seek treatment after he was arrested four years ago on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. He was taken into custody after he nearly hit a tribal police officer who had stopped another vehicle, police said. A test allegedly showed Olson’s blood-alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit.

Olson on Tuesday said he was surprised to learn that his compliance was in question. As soon as he learned that the probation counselor called for a hearing he stopped drinking, he said.

“It’s not a big part of my life,” he said.

Olson said he was disappointed the judge didn’t allow for more explanation about why he believed he was allowed to drink. Bowman had asked the judge to continue the hearing until he received more information from Olson’s former attorney and the mental health provider.

Wisman denied the request. He said it wouldn’t affect his decision.

“I find this almost ludicrous (that) this assertion is being made,” Wisman said. “He got into this problem because of a DUI. I don’t think anyone with common sense would think he could drink after two years.”

One of the most important conditions of the deferred prosecution for an alcohol-related offense is that the defendant not drink alcohol, the judge said. Deferred prosecution is a great privilege, Wisman said.

“Drinking while on it is considered by many the most egregious,” offense, he said.

Violations of a deferred prosecution can lead to jail time and other sanctions.

Wisman said he assumed that Olson has been drinking for about two years and wanted Olson to make up the time. He agreed to expand the time Olson must be under court supervision.

As part of the agreement Olson also must undergo another drug and alcohol evaluation and comply with any recommendations set forth by the probation officer.

Meanwhile, Skagit County Prosecutor Rich Weyrich said he is reviewing the investigation into a rape allegation made against Olson. No charge has been filed.

Olson and his attorney on Tuesday declined to comment about the ongoing investigation.

A woman told Everett police in June that she believed Olson sexually assaulted her at his downtown Everett law office.

Olson and the woman had spent the evening with other friends at restaurants in Everett. She told detectives she had four drinks that night and felt very intoxicated, court documents show.

She doesn’t remember consenting to a sexual encounter and believes she was too impaired to provide consent, detectives wrote in a search warrant.

Investigators are trying to determine if the sex was consensual or if a crime occurred.

Everett police handed over the investigation to the Washington State Patrol to avoid a potential conflict of interest. Weyrich also agreed to review the case instead of Snohomish County prosecutors to avoid any conflict.

Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or

Talk to us

More in Local News

Cars move across Edgewater Bridge toward Everett on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edgewater Bridge redo linking Everett, Mukilteo delayed until mid-2024

The project, now with an estimated cost of $27 million, will detour West Mukilteo Boulevard foot and car traffic for a year.

Lynn Deeken, the Dean of Arts, Learning Resources & Pathways at EvCC, addresses a large gathering during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new Cascade Learning Center on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New EvCC learning resource center opens to students, public

Planners of the Everett Community College building hope it will encourage students to use on-campus tutoring resources.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett police chief to retire at the end of October

Chief Dan Templeman announced his retirement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. He has been chief for nine years.

Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Fatal 2-car crash closes Highway 99 in Lynnwood

Police closed off Highway 99 between 188th Street SW and 196th Street SW while they investigated.

Mike Bredstrand, who is trying to get back his job with Lake Stevens Public Works, stands in front of the department’s building on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Bredstrand believes his firing in July was an unwarranted act of revenge by the city. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens worker was fired after getting court order against boss

The city has reportedly spent nearly $60,000 on attorney and arbitration fees related to Mike Bredstrand, who wants his job back.

Chap Grubb, founder and CEO of second-hand outdoor gear store Rerouted, stands inside his new storefront on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Gold Bar, Washington. Rerouted began as an entirely online shop that connected buyers and sellers of used gear.  (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Used outdoor gear shop Rerouted finds a niche in Gold Bar

Seeking to keep good outdoor gear out of landfills, an online reselling business has put down roots in Gold Bar.

Naval Station Everett. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Everett man sentenced to 6 years for cyberstalking ex-wife

Christopher Crawford, 42, was found guilty of sending intimate photos of his ex-wife to adult websites and to colleagues in the Navy.

Most Read