ANDERSON, Ind. — The new coach of Anderson High School’s boys basketball team was suspended, pending an internal investigation, after he was charged with drunk driving.
Phillip Washington was arrested Saturday in Anderson when police found him passed out in his car in a Pizza King parking lot.
According to court records, Washington’s vehicle was “on, in drive, with the brake lights illuminated.” An officer noted slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and a smell of alcohol on Washington’s breath. Washington also admitted to police he was “probably going to test over .08, which is the legal limit to operate a vehicle.” When police later tested his BAC, the results showed 0.11.
Anderson Community Schools issued this statement:
Anderson Community Schools is immediately placing AHS Head Basketball Coach, Mr. Phillip Washington, on administrative leave suspending him from all teaching and coaching duties while an internal investigation is being conducted.
Anderson Community Schools did not respond to requests for further questions, including if they were aware of any alleged previous driving criminal convictions and what the background check protocol is for teachers and coaches. Washington’s attorney also did not respond to requests for comment.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving Indiana Lead Victims Services Specialist, Lael Hill, said she’s heard of far too many cases where drivers will pass out in the car while driving drunk in an attempt to get food. Hill said this case is a good example of what to tell children and teens not to do and the importance of having conversations with new teen drivers about drinking and driving.
“Parents and their communities should use this as an example to start that conversation with their parents and their communities,” Hill said. She added, “make sure that you’re talking to them about this, opening up that dialogue and making sure that they make a commitment to never drink until they’re 21 and to never get into a vehicle with someone that’s been drinking.”
If you’ve been emotionally impacted by a case like this, you are encouraged to call MADD’s 24-hour Victim Help Line at 877-MADD-HELP.
In January, Washington was suspended from his coaching duties at Crispus Attucks during an Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) investigation. Washington was accused of violating player eligibility rules.