Former US ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan Ryan Crocker is facing charges of drunk driving and hit-and-run after causing an accident while intoxicated, police said.
Crocker, who left his Afghanistan job early this summer for health reasons, was cited after colliding with a semi truck at a traffic intersection in Spokane Valley, in the northwestern US state of Washington, on 14 August.
"Mr Crocker was in the left lane... and the light turned green and he decided he was going to take a right turn," Washington State highway patrol trooper Troy Briggs told AFP.
"So he was turning right from the left lane... he turned in front of the semi, and they collided in the intersection," he said, adding: "Mr. Crocker spun out, he regained control and fled the scene."
After driving on for some miles, the 63-year-old ex-diplomat stopped, and was eventually arrested by two troopers, who took him to a station where he was underwent a breathalyser test and found to be over the limit for alcohol, he said.
"He was very co-operative, (but) it was obvious that he was intoxicated," said Briggs, adding that Crocker, a native of Spokane, made an initial appearance in court the following day.
He could not confirm local media reports that Crocker pleaded not guilty to the charges of driving under the influence (DUI) and hit-and-run. A State Department spokesperson did not immediately comment.
US authorities confirmed in May that Crocker, who was appointed out of retirement in July 2011 for a two-year term, would leave his post early this summer.
The veteran diplomat previously served as the US envoy to Iraq, Pakistan and Syria.