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Originally published April 22, 2009 at 2:08 PM | Page modified April 22, 2009 at 10:54 PM

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Burien city manager arrested on suspicion of DUI after traffic accident

Burien City Manager Mike Martin was arrested last weekend on suspicion of drunken driving after his car left the road and struck a ceramic pot in a yard, according to the King County Sheriff's Office.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Burien City Manager Mike Martin was arrested Sunday on suspicion of drunken driving after his car left the road and struck a ceramic pot in a yard, according to the King County Sheriff's Office.

Martin, 55, previously resigned from a top administrative job in Kent after a hit-and-run incident.

Sheriff's deputies responded to a call in the 12600 block of 14th Avenue South in Burien shortly before 11 p.m. Sunday, where Martin was found outside his car, "leaning forward and swaying side to side," sheriff's records show.

Martin's breath strongly smelled of alcohol, his speech was slurred and he said he had consumed a couple of glasses of wine and two beers, a deputy wrote in a report.

Martin's name was blacked out throughout the report. But the Sheriff's Office provided the report to The Seattle Times in response to a request for documents related to his arrest for driving under the influence.

Martin declined to comment Wednesday. He referred all questions to his attorney, Kenneth Fornabai, of Auburn, who said he couldn't comment until he reviews the case.

Joan McGilton, mayor of the 31,000-population city, said that Martin's arrest will be discussed during an executive session of the City Council's regular meeting on Monday night.

"Mike has been a strong asset for the city of Burien and I hope this resolves positively," McGilton said.

During the incident, Martin identified himself as Burien's city manager, said he was driving home and that he had been turning around on the street, according to the records.

Martin refused to perform field sobriety tests or a preliminary breath test and, after being arrested for driving under the influence, declined to submit to a Breathalyzer test, the records show.

After booking Martin, a deputy drove Martin home. The deputy reported Martin said "this was dumb, dumb dumb" and that "this was a stupid mistake, a lot of people are going to be disappointed in me," according to the records.

The Sheriff's Office recommended to prosecutors that Martin be charged with driving while under the influence.

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Under state law, refusal to take a breath test results in automatic suspension of a driver's license for at least one year. Drivers may ask for a hearing to challenge the suspension or seek approval for an alcohol-ignition interlock device.

Martin was named Burien's city manager in November 2006 after serving as chief administrative officer for the city of Kent from 2000 to 2005, according to the Highline Times.

Martin's yearly salary is $135,180, which includes $28,672 in benefits.

Martin resigned the Kent post in October 2005 after his involvement in a hit-and-run car crash.

He later admitted to causing the car accident in Kent that left a woman with minor injuries, and then leaving the scene before police arrived, The Associated Press reported in 2006. Kent police said a vehicle driven by Martin rear-ended a car being pushed by three people, injuring a woman who was steering the car.

Martin underwent an alcohol-abuse assessment, alcohol and drug information school and attended a victim-impact alcohol and drug panel, court records show. He also paid a fine of $1,025.

During a court appearance in that case, Martin told a judge, "I made a bad mistake when I drove away," according to The Associated Press.

Seattle Times news researchers Miyoko Wolf and David Turim contributed to this story.

Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or smiletich@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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