LAKE STEVENS — After leaving Aquafest, the head of the Lake Stevens Public Works Department was arrested late Saturday night for investigation of drunken driving. An internal review by the city is under way.
Eric Durpos, 52, was driving his gray Ford F-150 on Vernon Road in Lake Stevens near Highway 9 when his pickup truck veered off the road and then into the oncoming lane, almost hitting a motorcyclist, according to a Washington State Patrol report.
Durpos reportedly told police he was on his way back home from Aquafest, where he drank a couple of beers in a VIP tent. The city is a co-sponsor of the community festival.
The Lake Stevens officer who pulled him over noted a strong odor of alcohol, slurred speech and bloodshot eyes.
When asked for his license, registration and insurance, the report says, “(Durpos) looked at me with a puzzling look and stated he was the public works director for the city of Lake Stevens.”
Because Durpos is a city employee, the Lake Stevens officer called for Washington State Patrol’s help to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.
When the state trooper arrived, she administered a field sobriety test, which Durpos failed. He initially refused to do a breath test for his blood-alcohol level, but agreed to do one after he was booked into the Snohomish County Jail.
His blood-alcohol level was 0.16, according to the police reports. It’s illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or greater.
Durpos was released Sunday after posting $1,000 bond.
As of Thursday, Durpos was still at work. He did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Lake Stevens Human Resources director Teri Smith said the city is actively looking into the case.
This isn’t the first time Durpos has been the subject of a human resources investigation during his employment with the city.
In 2018, he was reprimanded for rudeness and incivility after 10 of his employees signed a letter saying he was aggressive and difficult to work with. He was required to complete 40 hours of management classes and attend a training on workplace behavior.
Around the same time, outside experts hired by the city conducted an additional review of public works projects and management. The report raised allegations that employees were asked to cut corners and sometimes work without necessary permits. Investigators concluded the city should provide better information about protocols and job requirements.
Durpos joined the city in March 2017. He previously worked in Monroe and Colville. His annual salary is $143,656.