PORTLAND -- A Portland police officer accused of drunken driving after a chase in Pacific City has been put on administrative leave after he was taken off street duty and assigned to a desk job in the telephone reporting unit.
Police said Officer Sean Sothern was released on bail after deputies arrested him last month morning on accusations that include attempting to elude and reckless endangerment.
He was charged with attempt to elude, DUII and reckless endangerment.
The chase started in Cape Kiwanda State Park after a deputy suspected Sothern of wrongdoing on multiple violations, according to Tillamook County Undersheriff Andy Long. Long said the chase lasted no longer than a mile, and he would not elaborate on the specific violations.
Sothern's wife was in the car with him and a security guard at the park was somehow impacted, Long said, so Sothern was charged with two counts of reckless endangerment.
He is expected to make his first court appearance September 12 at 8:30 a.m.
Sothern is an 11-year veteran of the Portland department.
Police union president Daryl Turner said his thoughts and prayers were with Sothern, and that the union stands by him and respects his privacy at this time.
The Oregonian reports that in 2006 Sothern had an encounter with a fan after a Timbers match that led to a $15,000 settlement.
The fan stopped Sothern as he was moving toward other fans who had lit flares. She tugged on his arm and asked for his badge number, according to a suit she filed. He reportedly twisted her arm before continuing.
Later Sothern saw the fan, holding her arm, and asked her if she still wanted his badge number or an ambulance--both in a mocking tone--her suit said.
Sothern handcuffed her and she was accused of interference and harassment. A jury later took less than 30 minutes to find her not guilty, the Oregonian reported.
The suit, which originally asked for $100,000, was settled for $15,000, the newspaper reported. It was paid by Beavers PCLBaseball LLC, which had an agreement with the city to assume liability for police officers working at what was then PGEPark.