A Lewis County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol on Jan. 4 resigned today, according to the sheriff’s office.
Christopher P. Fulton, 31, Napavine, was placed on administrative leave during the internal investigation. He chose to resign rather than go any further with the sheriff’s office investigation, according to a release.
The sheriff’s office said after looking at all the circumstances of the incident, Fulton would have mostly likely been fired.
“Deputy Fulton was a top performer and a valued employee; however, regardless of past performance, this type of conduct is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Sheriff Steve Mansfield said in a press release. “I have put safeguards and programs in place for employees who have substance abuse issues and need help. It is incumbent upon the employee to access such programs and seek help prior to an incident occurring.”
Fulton was allegedly driving 73 miles per hour in a 60 miles per hour zone with a blood-alcohol content more than twice the legal limit. He also apparently sought special treatment from the trooper who eventually arrested him, according to a report.
Fulton has pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence. A pretrial hearing is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 30 in Lewis County District Court.
According to the Washington State Patrol investigation report, when the state trooper approached Fulton, he immediately asked if the trooper knew him.
Fulton, who was hired by the sheriff’s office in April 2008, was off duty and driving his privately owned pickup truck southbound on Interstate 5 near the Mellen Street exit in Centralia at the time of his arrest, the sheriff’s office said.
Fulton was initially stopped for speeding and then arrested for DUI.
“(He) reminded me that ‘we work together’ and that he knew me. It appeared to me that he was trying to persuade me to treat him in a favorable/preferential manner,” trooper Melody Krenelka wrote.
Fulton told the trooper he had only two drinks and that he drank the two beers at a casino.
Fulton then provided a breath sample that registered a .187 blood-alcohol content. Later, at the Lewis County Jail, Fulton blew a .174 and .172, which are both more than twice the legal limit of .08.
The WSP did not book Fulton into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office. Fulton’s car was impounded and he was transported in the patrol car.
Will Finn, the WSP public information officer, said the WSP only booked 38 percent of DUI offenders last year and officer’s use discretion, only booking offenders for felonies such as vehicular homicide or other criminal circumstances.
Fulton is the second Lewis County Sheriff’s Office deputy to be arrested for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol in the past four months.
Deputy Jeff S. Humphrey was arrested for driving under the influence in September.
Humphrey receive a two-week, unpaid suspension from the sheriff’s office. His sentence was deferred last month, according to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office.