LAKE STEVENS — Apparently reversing an earlier decision, the city of Lake Stevens now says it will not investigate its public works director after he was arrested for suspicion of drunken driving after leaving a city-sponsored event in late July.
Eric Durpos, 52, was pulled over July 27 when his truck allegedly veered into oncoming traffic on Vernon Road near Highway 9, nearly hitting a motorcyclist, a Lake Stevens Police report said. He reportedly told the officer he had a couple of beers in the Aquafest VIP tent, which is for special guests and sponsors, of which the city is one of the largest.
“It was on his personal time and in his personal vehicle,” city administrator Gene Brazel said Monday.
Brazel declined to comment on whether Durpos had been working in any capacity at Aquafest.
In an interview shortly after the incident, the city’s then-human resources director, Teri Smith, told The Daily Herald the city “was actively looking into the case.” Smith since left her post to work for the city of Kent, and the position was filled by an interim director.
In an email Friday, city clerk Kathy Pugh wrote that “after consultation with legal counsel, the City determined an internal investigation is not necessary at this time.”
When asked about the investigation in a telephone interview Monday, Brazel responded, “case closed.”
A decision by Snohomish County prosecutors on whether to file charges against Durpos likely won’t be made for months because of a high caseload, authorities said.
After being pulled over in July and asked for his license, registration and insurance, the Lake Stevens officer reported, “(Durpos) looked at me with a puzzling look and stated he was the Public Works director for the city of Lake Stevens.”
Brazel declined to comment on whether that was an appropriate comment for a city employee to make during a traffic stop. He said Durpos was wearing a large VIP tag around his neck which indicated he worked for the city.
To avoid any potential conflicts of interest, the police officer called a Washington State Patrol trooper to take over.
After failing a field sobriety test, Durpos was booked into the Snohomish County Jail where, according to the state patrol, he registered a 0.16 blood-alcohol content — two times the legal limit.
He was released on $1,000 bond.
Durpos, who continues to lead the department, could not be reached for comment.
He joined the city in March 2017. His annual salary is $143,656.
In 2018, he was reprimanded for rudeness and incivility after 10 employees signed a letter saying he was aggressive and difficult to work with.
The city required him to complete 40 hours of community service and attend a training on workplace behavior.