Ex-State Patrol cadet tailed council member now charged with DUI
Brian Sullivan, chair of the Snohomish County Council, was arrested Thursday and charged with a DUI after a former State Patrol cadet called 911 to report Sullivan's erratic driving.
Seattle Times staff reporter
A former State Patrol cadet called 911 Thursday night to report a suspected drunken driver, who turned out to be Snohomish County Council Chair Brian Sullivan, according to a Mukilteo police report detailing the arrest of the 54-year-old Democrat.
Sullivan, a former mayor of Mukilteo, is serving a second term on the County Council. He is also running in the August primary for a one-month term in the 1st Congressional District seat that Jay Inslee vacated to run for governor.
The 70-year-old former cadet was driving west on Highway 526 when he was passed by a gray Honda Civic at high speed around 7:45 p.m. Thursday, according to the report. The vehicle caught his attention because the driver "would speed up and then slow down," and repeatedly crossed the centerline, then drifted back over the fog line, according to the report.
He pulled up behind the Honda and tailed it, all the while talking to a police dispatcher. At one point, the Honda almost crashed into the concrete median, the former cadet told Mukilteo police.
"When younger, I was with the Washington State Patrol and participated in many DUI arrests," the former cadet wrote in a statement to police. "... Other drivers, who saw I was behind the car and talking on the phone, gave me the thumbs-up sign."
The State Patrol says the witness was once a cadet, but never was a commissioned trooper.
When the driver of the Honda pulled over in the 4500 block of Chennault Beach Road, the former cadet stopped his black Lincoln about 100 feet behind it. The Honda driver got out and started walking toward the witness, who later told an officer that "the male driver looked like he wanted to fight," the police report says.
The former cadet kept backing up his vehicle, and when officers arrived on the scene, they observed a man — later identified as Sullivan — walking back toward the Honda, the report says.
Sullivan was driving to his Mukilteo home from Buck's American Cafe in Everett, where he initially said he had "a couple glasses of wine," then told the arresting officer he had started drinking at 3:30 p.m. and had about four glasses of wine, the police report says.
Sullivan was cooperative, he smelled strongly of alcohol, his face was flushed and his eyes were watery and droopy, according to the report. He failed field-sobriety tests and later, at the Mukilteo Police Station, took two breath tests that indicated blood-alcohol levels of .168 and .161 percent, the report says. The legal limit in Washington is .08 percent.
Sullivan did not immediately return a phone message left at his county office, but Friday he told The (Everett) Herald, "I'm just sorry." The newspaper also reported that Everett District Court Judge Tam Bui accepted Sullivan's not-guilty plea at his arraignment.
According to the police report, the arresting officer told Sullivan his arrest "was not that big of a deal," but Sullivan was upset, said he feared he would lose his job and told the officer he "would read about it in the paper."
Sullivan has been a Snohomish County Council member since 2008 for the 2nd Council District, according to a news release issued by Washington State Democrats. He served as a state representative from 2001 to 2007 for the 21st Legislative District and as mayor of Mukilteo from 1990-1997.
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information in this article, originally published July 30, 2012, was corrected July 31, 2012. A previous version of this story stated that a former State Patrol trooper reported Sullivan to 911 and followed his vehicle. The witness was once a cadet with the State Patrol, but was never commissioned as a trooper.