March 24, 2010 in Region

Report: Dorn smelled of alcohol, failed sobriety tests

Associated Press

SEATTLE — Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn smelled of alcohol and failed sobriety tests when he was stopped by Orting police over the weekend for investigation of speeding in a vehicle with a defective rear tail light, according to police documents.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn was charged Wednesday in Orting Municipal Court with one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence, Prosecuting Attorney Aaron Walls said.

A call to attorney Thomas Ellington, who represents Dorn, was not immediately returned.

The charge is a gross misdemeanor and carries a maximum possible penalty of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

“While administering the tests, I could smell the strong odor of intoxicants coming from his person and observed his eyes were watery, droopy, bloodshot and his face was flushed,” Officer B. Porter wrote in the report released Wednesday to The News Tribune of Tacoma.

Dorn, 56, was arrested about 1:30 a.m. Sunday near Orting High School in rural Pierce County. The Washington State Patrol said a breathalyzer test found his blood-alcohol content was 0.11, which is 0.03 above the legal limit in Washington.

Along with the citation for driving under the influence, Dorn was issued a $124 ticket for allegedly driving his Toyota Prius at least 10 miles over the posted speed limit of 35 mph.

The police report said he failed two field sobriety tests after being stopped, and a preliminary breathalyzer test found his blood alcohol content to be 0.097. The legal limit is 0.08.

After being arrested, taken back to the Orting Police Department and given the official breath test, Dorn was released to a sober driver, according to the police report.

The document does not mention if other people had been riding in the car with him.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Dorn said he was attending a community event Saturday night and drank beer with dinner.

“I hope people will understand and respect that this is a personal legal matter that at this time I am not at liberty to discuss,” Dorn’s statement said. His office had nothing further to say Wednesday.

Dorn was elected in 2008 to a four-year term leading Washington’s K-12 education system.

He was executive of the Public School Employees of Washington union from 1999 until taking his current job. Earlier in his career, he served seven years in the state House and worked as a teacher and principal in Eatonville and other districts.

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