Police commander arrested for DUI showed signs of impairment, WSP report alleges

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Commander Don Duncan
Commander Don Duncan

According to Washington State Patrol records and charging papers obtained by MLTnews, Mountlake Terrace Police Department Commander Don Duncan was allegedly driving without headlights on and creeping three tire widths over the centerline of Highway 9 when he was pulled over by a Washington State Trooper during the early morning hours of Feb. 1. The 18-year law enforcement officer was subsequently arrested for suspected driving under the influence, and on Feb. 26 he was formally charged with a DUI, a gross misdemeanor.

Duncan is currently on administrative leave from his post with the Mountlake Terrace Police Department awaiting trial and results from an internal police department investigation.

Washington State Patrol records indicate that Duncan was pulled over near the intersection of 99th Avenue Southeast and 20th Street Southwest in Lake Stevens, about a quarter mile from his Lake Stevens home, at approximately 1:35 a.m. on Feb. 1. The WSP trooper who conducted the traffic stop was not alone the night of the incident — a Snohomish County deputy prosecuting attorney was riding along with him during his shift.

Duncan told the trooper he was heading home from a restaurant in Smokey Point and had been drinking earlier that night, but hadn’t had a drink for two hours. But the trooper reported “the driver had bloodshot and watery eyes, and I smelled a strong odor of intoxicants coming from inside of the truck.” When asked for his registration and proof of insurance, “Duncan was slow and uncoordinated with his paperwork,” the trooper wrote.

Duncan willing performed voluntary field sobriety tests at the site of the incident, then was placed in handcuffs and taken to the Snohomish Police Department. There, he was administered breath analysis tests at around 3:30 a.m., with results of .055 and .058, below the legal intoxication standard of .08.

The police report indicates that Duncan pointed to the breath analysis results as sufficient reason not to hold him on a DUI charge. But the trooper explained that he would refer the charge to the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office because of his observations “at the scene” and the time lapse between the initial arrest and the breath analysis test.

Duncan had told the trooper right after he had been pulled over that he was carrying a loaded gun in a backpack in his truck. The backpack was searched and a Smith & Wesson handgun was found, the report noted.

The Mountlake Terrace Police Department is running a “parallel and independent internal investigation,” which is required in these types of cases, said Police Chief Greg Wilson.

— By Doug Petrowski

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