According to USA Today Sports, Derrick Coleman admitted to police that he had been using synthetic marijuana known as “spice” before he caused a major vehicular accident on October 14, 2015.
Even though natural marijuana is legal in Washington, synthetic marijuana is illegal. Natural marijuana use though is banned by the NFL’s substance abuse policy and is tested for. Synthetic marijuana is not tested for. Other NFL players have also run into trouble using the drug. Patriots DE Chandler Jones reportedly had a bad reaction on January 10, 2016 when he wandered into a police station and seeking medical help. In November, 2013 former Jets TE Kellen Winslow was charged with possession of synthetic marijuana after he was caught allegedly masturbating in his car.
The photo you see above is from the time of the incident while Coleman was being held in Bellevue police custody.
The accident occurred when, according to police, Coleman was driving at a high rate of speed and struck another vehicle going in the same direction. The other vehicle, a Honda Civic, rolled over, and Coleman’s Dodge Pickup landed on its side. Coleman was allegedly going 60mph in a 35mph zone. After the crash his foot remained on the accelerator for several seconds driving the Civic 260 feet down the road. He then left the scene of the accident barefoot, only to wait a few blocks away. The other driver suffered a broken collar bone, and Coleman himself was held out of games due to a concussion.
Coleman originally denied, to the press, that he had been impaired in his driving in any way. You can watch the video of his denial here. For what its worth, his lawyer claims blood tests show that Coleman was not impaired in his driving. (Presumably the level of synthetic marijuana in his blood was either not tested, or not at a legal level of intoxication).
Because Coleman isn’t charged with use of the drug by Bellevue police, it is unlikely that he will be held accountable by the league’s substance abuse policy. He is however charged with a felony hit-and-run since he left the scene of the crime. Prosecutors have not yet decided if they are going to pursue the case against Coleman.
As a person who regularly drives the road Coleman had his accident on, I can tell you that this level of crash is VERY suspicious. It is a small city street, relatively narrow. I can’t imagine going 60mph on that road. It seems odd to me, and personally I suspect synthetic marijuana had something to do with the crash.
More than that though, I have to say I am DISSAPOINTED with Derrick Coleman. He has put himself forward as a role model, both with his Duracell commercial and his book No Excuses: Growing Up Deaf and Achieving My Super Bowl Dreams. He acted as though he was someone my kids could admire: someone who had been bullied by managed to triumph over the haters. I even verbally defended him to other people. I guess I have to eat my words, because now we find out that he is just another pothead who recklessly drove through city streets putting everyone else at risk. Shame on you Derrick Coleman!
Tell me what you think of this incident. Did you defend Derrick Coleman? Do you now feel betrayed by these recent revelations? Post your comments below.