SEATTLE -- An on-duty King County sheriff's deputy was arrested Tuesday night after he appeared to be passed out at the wheel of his parked patrol car.

Sheriff John Urquhart sent a letter to his staff explaining the incident. He said Alcohol did not appear to be the issue, but drugs most likely were.

Sgt. Cindi West says the 46-year-old deputy was arrested for suspicion of physical control of a motor vehicle, the legal equivalent of DUI when no driving is observed. He was processed and released by Bellevue police.

The deputy, who did not want to go on-camera, denied the allegations Wednesday night.

He said he was exhausted and at the end of his shift when he pulled into the parking lot to get coffee and feel asleep.

I've cooperated in every respect of the investigation, the deputy said.

I'm innocent and the blood test results will prove that.

West said a search warrant will be obtained later this week to search the interior of his patrol car for evidence.

She added that a citizen called 9-1-1 when he observed the deputy hunched over the steering wheel and could not wake him. His car was parked in Newcastle.

According to West, a drug expert from Bellevue Police was called to investigate and determined their was sufficient evidenece that the deputy was under the influence of some type of narcotic.

Bellevue Police is conducting a criminal investigation, while the sheriff's office is handling an administrative one.

The deputy, a 15-year veteran, is on administrative leave pending those investigations.

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