The crew prepping the Agate Pass Bridge for a paint job narrowly averted a potential head-on collision after they stopped a suspected DUI driver after he drove past a flagger and into the way of oncoming traffic on the two-lane span.
Bainbridge police said the close call happened just before midnight on Thursday, March 12.
The bridge has been closed to one lane overnight after the Washington State Department of Transportation restarted the bridge-painting project earlier this month.
Police said the suspected DUI driver, a 46-year-old Poulsbo man, was going south on Highway 305 when he approached a flagger on the north side of the bridge between Bainbridge Island and the Kitsap Peninsula.
The flagger had stopped southbound traffic, but the Poulsbo man, who was driving a silver pickup truck, drove past the worker and onto the bridge.
Several workers were on the span, however, and they took quick action to get the driver to move out of the lane of travel so he wouldn’t collide with traffic heading north.
A Bainbridge officer responded to the scene, and found the driver had watery and bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. Police could also smell the odor of alcohol on him, even though he was smoking a cigarette.
The driver told police he was just trying to get to work.
He denied drinking any alcohol, but also said he wasn’t sure where his truck had been stopped and didn’t know why he had gotten pulled over on the bridge.
The driver was unsteady on his feet after he got out of his truck, and he failed a preliminary sobriety test conducted by Bainbridge police.
A trooper with the Washington State Patrol then arrived at the bridge and took over the DUI investigation.
The Poulsbo man was subsequently arrested by the State Patrol for DUI.