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Washington trooper accused of improperly ticketing trucker for crash reassigned due to investigation into ‘alleged misconduct’

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The Washington State Patrol (WSP) has removed an officer from law enforcement activities after he allegedly wrongly ticketed a truck driver for a crash involving a fellow state trooper, according to a new report.

Seattle news outlet King 5 reports that WSP Sergeant T. J. Johnson has been reassigned and will not participate in law enforcement activities due to his alleged misconduct in citing a truck driver who collided with a fellow WSP trooper.

The crash occurred on northbound I-5 in Seattle in August 2022 and involved WSP Trooper Cadet Phirawat Apisit and semi truck driver Shawn Foutch.

The crash happened as the trooper was performing a “rolling slowdown” in order to try to help a fellow trooper get back on the interstate following a DUI traffic stop on the right shoulder.

In dash cam video included in the report, you can see Foutch move left to give police more room when Apisit veered into his lane of travel, resulting in a collision.

Both Foutch and Apisit were injured in the crash.

Trooper Johnson was the sergeant at the crash scene and indicated in his report that “I thought I could detect an odor of intoxicants” coming from Foutch.

Though Foutch says he has not touched alcohol in 30 years due to diabetes, he was subjected to a field sobriety test, a breathalyzer, and a blood draw at a hospital, all of which came back negative.

Foutch was cited months after the crash for “negligent driving second degree.”

Foutch hired a lawyer, who in turn contacted a WSP collision tech who was at the crash site. The crash tech claimed that Apisit did not properly conduct the rolling slowdown maneuver. Following this and many other legal maneuverings, the negligent driving citation was later dropped.

WSP spokesperson Chris Loftis told King 5, “The infraction never should have been issued. We didn’t meet our own standards of fundamental fairness.”

WSP told the outlet that Johnson “has been placed on administrative reassignment due the nature of his alleged misconduct following an August 12, 2022, collision involving a trooper and a commercial motor vehicle. Sergeant Johnson will not be involved in law enforcement activities during his reassignment.”

WSP is still actively investigating the incident.

For more, including dash cam footage of the crash from Foutch’s truck, see the video below.

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