State patrol troopers in Tacoma, Washington, received quite a surprise on Sunday, after pulling over a reckless driving suspect who turned out to be a fellow officer. But trooper David Bertholf wasn't just any fellow officer. Bertholf has a reputation for laying down the law with drunk drivers, and now he finds himself in the defendant's chair for his own drunk driving charge.
And drunk driving is just the tip of the iceberg. He also faces charges of hit-and-run and eluding, after officers say he tried to outrun them. Even after he finally stopped, officers say it took 10 minutes for Bertholf to exit his vehicle and surrender.
WSP Captain Rob Huss issued a statement on the situation, saying, “We're extremely disappointed in the actions and decision-making of this particular employee.” Huss went on to point out that Bertholf's career in law enforcement may very well be over. "There's a high likelihood. It's very difficult for somebody, rightfully so, to fulfill a position in law enforcement when you have these types of serious allegations in place.”
Bertholf is a 20-year veteran of the force who has received numerous awards for drunk driving prevention in Pierce and Kitsap counties, according to a report from KOMO News. In 1994, he was presented with an award for returning to work after recovering from severe injuries in a head-on crash on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Bertholf is currently being held on $35,000 bail and is expected to enter an inpatient substance abuse treatment program in Eastern Washington, according to his family.
Cases like this remind us that even law enforcement makes mistakes. Driving under the influence of alcohol is always a bad idea, and can put lives in danger. Nevertheless, a DUI can happen to anyone, even those who try to take the necessary precautions. If you have been charged with a DUI, especially a Washington State DUI, the consequences can be staggering: fines, jail time, license suspension, mandatory ignition interlock, car impoundment and more. Even if it's your first DUI, you can still face devastating consequences.
If you have been charged with a Seattle DUI, you need a lawyer with the experience and qualifications to handle DUI cases. At Wolff Defense, we have been defending DUI suspects for years. Give us a call to discuss your right and your options. Whatever you do, don't try to fight your DUI case alone. You need an expert defense. Call us today.