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Originally published April 19, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified April 19, 2007 at 1:16 PM

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Blood-alcohol level of Woodinville driver breaks state record

A former Seattle police officer returned the highest blood-alcohol reading ever recorded by a Washington state driver, and she was charged...

Seattle Times Eastside bureau

A former Seattle police officer returned the highest blood-alcohol reading ever recorded by a Washington state driver, and she was charged with driving under the influence Wednesday.

Deana F. Jarrett, of Woodinville, registered a 0.47 percent blood-alcohol reading after striking two cars April 11, said Trooper Jeff Merrill, public-information officer for the State Patrol. The legal limit in Washington is 0.08 percent.

A blood-alcohol level above 0.40 percent is potentially lethal.

"Someone who is an alcoholic will tolerate a higher blood-alcohol level," said Lynne Freeman, a doctor at Group Health's urgent-care clinic on Capitol Hill. "In someone who is not an alcoholic, they could die somewhere between 0.4 and 0.5."

For someone Jarrett's size — 5 feet 5 inches and 130 to 140 pounds — it would take about a fifth of liquor, 25.6 ounces, in a short period of time, to reach that blood-alcohol level, Freeman said.

"It would be many drinks," she said, and "probably straight alcohol rather than beer."

According to court records, Jarrett also goes by the name Deana Karst, and Seattle police spokesman Sean Whitcomb said Karst used to work for the department. According to city records, Karst began working as a police officer in 1979.

Jarrett, 54, who also was arrested in a traffic stop by Redmond police April 10, faces two counts of DUI. She refused a breath test in that arrest, Redmond police said.

The next day, her blood-alcohol level registered 0.47 percent after she was involved in two traffic collisions on eastbound Highway 520, Merrill said.

Five empty four-ounce plastic bottles of vodka and two empty 12-ounce cans of beer were found on the front passenger seat, according to a trooper's report.

No one was injured in the collisions, which took place minutes apart, Merrill said.

"Most people black out at between 0.35 and higher," said Detective Tim Gately of the Redmond Police Department said.

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After the April 10 arrest in Redmond, King County jail records show Jarrett was booked at 4:54 p.m. and released after posting $500 bail at 8:16 p.m.

After the April 11 arrest, Jarrett first was taken to Evergreen Hospital, where she had to be restrained with soft wrist restraints and was combative, according to a Patrol report.

The State Patrol uses guidelines that require troopers to seek medical attention for people who have blood-alcohol readings above 0.25 percent, Merrill added.

She then was booked into the King County jail at 5:43 p.m. and released after posting $500 bail at 12:48 a.m. last Thursday, jail records indicate.

Both arrests now have been combined into a single prosecution, with her arraignment on the two DUI charges set for 8:45 a.m. Monday in the Redmond Courthouse of King County District Court.

Jarrett, who holds a valid driver's license, also faces charges of reckless driving and a hit and run after hitting a vehicle Feb. 23, court records showed. She could not be reached for comment.

Merrill said the State Patrol maintains records on all individuals who submit to a breath test in Washington. Thirty-five of the approximately 356,000 breath tests given since 1998 have registered above 0.40 percent, a records check revealed.

An average of 42,000 to 45,000 breathalyzer tests are given each year by all law-enforcement agencies in the state. No one had registered over 0.45 percent on a breath test, Merrill said.

Seattle Times staff reporter Amy Roe contributed to this story

Peyton Whitely: 206-464-2259 or pwhitely@seattletimes.com. Sharon Pian Chan: 206-464-2204 or schan@seattletimes.com

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