For the second month in a row, a Dallas Cowboys lineman was charged in a DWI accident case. On January 22nd, defensive lineman Jay Ratliff was driving his 2011 Ford pickup truck in Grapevine, Texas, when he apparently struck a semitrailer truck as he was changing lanes. Ratliff’s truck then turned sideways and struck a median before coming to a stop. Neither Mr. Ratliff nor the driver of the semitrailer were injured.
Police claimed that Mr. Ratliff failed field sobriety tests at the scene. Reports from the arresting officer Eric Barch state that Ratliff had a “moderate odor” of alcohol on his breath and blood shot, watery eyes. Ratliff refused to take a chemical test of his blood, but the police obtained a warrant to do so. Purportedly, the blood test revealed a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.16%, which is twice the Texas limit (as it is in New York) of 0.08%.
Ratliff was charged with DWI. There was no report as to his Court date. Fortunately, there were no injuries in the Ratliff accident, but tragically, the same cannot be said for the December 8, 2012 accident involving Josh Brent. Brent, a 24 year old nose tackle, was behind the wheel with his friend, college teammate and Cowboys practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown, when he lost control of his 2007 Mercedes S60 on Highway 114 in Irving Texas. Reports indicated that Brown was speeding, the vehicle stuck a curb, flipped several times, and skidded approximately 300 yards, the equivalent of 3 football fields.
When police arrived, Brent was pulling Brown out of the burning car. The two had been teammates for three years at the University of Illinois. Ironically, Brent pled guilty to a DUI in 2009 while in college. He was pulled over near the Illinois campus and arrested for DUI, driving with a suspended license, and speeding. He was sentenced to 60 days in prison, 200 hours of community service and two years probation. He was also ordered to attend a Victim’s Impact panel, which in New York is sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
All NFL players have a “safe ride program” service on their union card, by which they can be picked up anywhere in the United States or Canada for an hourly fee of $85.00. However, with the spate of recent drunk driving arrests of Michael Turner, David Diehl and Justin Blackmon, along with those of Brent and Ratliff, it appears that the players are not availing themselves of the service.
Brent was charged with one count of intoxication manslaughter, which is a second degree felony in Texas. If convicted, he could be sentenced to between 2 and 20 years in prison, a $10,000 fine and could also be sentenced to probation. He is free on bond of $100,000 and must wear an alcohol monitor.
Contact the Westchester County DWI lawyers online or toll free at (914) 428-7386 if you are charged with a felony DWI, DWI under Leandra’s Law, a refusal to take a chemical test, or a traffic infraction, for a free initial consultation to discuss the specifics of your case and your rights and legal options.