Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Alameda Ta’amu, 22, is facing a litany of criminal charges, including felony DWI charges after fleeing from Pittsburgh police in his vehicle on October 14, 2012 and striking several other vehicles while allegedly intoxicated. Ta’amu is a rookie for the team and is originally from Kent, Washington.
At approximately 2:30 AM on October 14, 2012, Ta’amu was reportedly driving his 2006 Lincoln Navigator erratically, including swerving across double yellow lines, passing red lights and speeding, when he was observed by an off-duty police officer. That officer noted that Ta’amu was entering an area where thousands of pedestrians were walking on the streets and sidewalks after having been to many of the local bars and restaurants. Alarmed, he radioed in to his headquarters, and an off-duty unformed officer drew his handgun and demanded that Ta’amu stop his vehicle. Rather than doing so, Ta’amu supposedly swerved his car and almost struck the officer, then sped away from the scene.
Mr. Ta’amu then disregarded additional officers on foot patrol who demanded he pull over. They reportedly had to dive out of the way of his speeding SUV. Ta’amu then crashed into several parked vehicles, including one occupied by 22 year old Jennifer Kosko, who is reported to have suffered a head injury. She was transported to the hospital and then released. After Ta’amu’s car was disabled from the multiple accidents, he attempted to flee on foot, and resisted arrest by ripping one arm away as the other was placed in handcuffs. Police allegedly were required to utilize 2 sets of handcuffs to restrain Ta’amu, who is 6’ 3” and weighs 348 pounds.
Blood alcohol testing allegedly revealed that Ta’amu had a BAC of 0.196, more than 2 times the legal limit of 0.08%. Ta’amu has been charged with 5 felonies, including “Fleeing or attempting to elude police officer”; “Aggravated Assault by Vehicle While DUI”; and three counts of “Aggravated Assault.” He is also facing misdemeanor charges of “Accident Involving Damage to Attended Vehicle”; resisting arrest; escape; and two counts of driving under the influence of alcohol. Lastly, Ta’amu has been charged with several traffic infractions, including driving on the right side of the roadway; obedience to traffic control devices, and accidents with unattended vehicles.
In all likelihood, Mr. Ta’amu will be facing extensive alcohol rehabilitation and treatment, but despite the severity of the charges, his status as a professional football player will likely work in his favor in a plea deal which will involve fines of at least $1,000-$2,500; a plea of guilty to the leaving the scene charges, and other possible charges such as disorderly conduct, but not the felony or misdemeanor charges. It is unclear if the prosecution will push for a guilty plea on any of the misdemeanors or felonies; if they do, it will probably result in a delay in the resolution of the case until it is not as much in the public eye. Ta’amu will also likely face civil liability for the injuries suffered by Ms. Kosko, but my strong expectation is that that case will be settled quickly by Ta’amu’s automobile insurance company.
Ta’amu was released on $25,000 bail. He was suspended by the NFL for two games. His next Court date has not been reported.