Port Orchard mayor accepts pretrial diversion deal in DUI case
By JEFF RHODES
Port Orchard Independent Editor
June 10, 2010 · Updated 2:41 PM
Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola, in court on Thursday morning in response to his driving under the influence arrest in May, agreed to a pretrial diversion agreement that could reduce the charges to first-degree negligent driving.
Under terms of the settlement, Coppola has already submitted to an alcohol evaluation and agreed to participate in follow-up examinations as needed.
He also attended alcohol information school and a victim impact panel.
"I'm glad to you're taking this seriously," Tacoma District Court Judge David Kenworthy told Coppola.
The mayor will be subject to periodic reviews for the next two years, but if he meets all the conditions set forth in the agreement the DUI charge will be reduced to first-degree negligent driving -- a simple misdemeanor -- and the case will be closed.
Coppola also paid a $1,066 fine plus an additional $150 to Washington State Patrol, which was called in to handle the case when Port Orchard police officers recognized the suspect in custody was the mayor.
Coppola was arrested after his car allegedly blocked a newspaper delivery vehicle near his Rockwell Avenue home in the early morning hours of May 2.
Port Orchard Police were called to the scene, but contacted Washington State Patrol to perform the field sobriety test.
According to a WSP spokesperson, Coppola smelled of intoxicants, his eyes were blurry and his speech was slurred.
He was arrested at the scene but subsequently released to his attorney’s custody instead of being booked into jail.
The case is being handled by the Pierce County District Court to avoid conflicts of interest in the Port Orchard Municipal Court system.