King County deputy charged with DUI, hit-and-run

EVERETT, Wash. -- A King County sheriff's deputy who crashed his patrol car while on duty in February has been charged with hit and run and driving under the influence.

Deputy Mark Rockwood had just started his shift before 7 a.m. on February 28 when dispatchers began getting calls about his driving. Rockwood, who was in a Shoreline police car, was driving erratically, running stop lights and stopping in the middle of intersections while driving northbound on Highway 99 in Lynnwood, according to charging papers.

He eventually rear-ended a driver and came to a stop near NE 132nd Street and State Route 527.

Officers from several jurisdictions soon arrived on scene and began interviewing Rockwood.

Police say the 47-year-old "appeared extremely confused and disoriented." He was wearing his King County Sheriff's Office jumpsuit, but he was disheveled and the suit was unzipped in the front with his bulletproof vest showing, according to court documents.

Police say Rockwood had difficulty standing and had wobbly legs. Officers noticed he was wearing his gun belt, but his gun was missing. He said he didn't know where the gun was and didn't appear concerned about its whereabouts, according to police.

Officers didn't smell alcohol on Rockwood, so they called in a drug recognition expert from the Washington State Patrol. The trooper drove Rockwood to a nearby police station and said the deputy fell asleep in the car during the short trip.

At the station, Rockwood failed several sobriety tests and fell asleep again during another test.

He told the trooper he had taken at least four Ambien sleeping pills between midnight and 2 a.m. He also said he had taken a medication for acid reflux, another for foot fungus, Lorazepam, Xanax, Lamisyl, acetaminophen, Oxyperoly and Celexa, which is an antidepressant, according to charging documents.

Rockwood was then arrested for suspicion of DUI. A blood test later showed he had taken Celexa, a cold medication and Ambien.

Officers found Rockwood's personal car parked at a nearby fire station. It was damaged, and police searched the area and found a stop sign that had been hit with a car and knocked over. Investigators say the paint transfer shows that Rockwood's car could have hit the sign.

The deputy is a 19-year-veteran of the sheriff's office. He was placed on administrative leave during the investigation, but is currently back on duty and working patrol, according to the sheriff's office.