Man driving O'Neal's SUV arrested on pot charge

Updated: October 13, 2006, 11:35 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- A man driving a vehicle owned by Indiana Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal was arrested Friday night on a marijuana possession charge, police said. O'Neal was not in the SUV, and a police spokesman said he was not suspected of any involvement.

O'Neal said he had nothing to do with the incident. He said he bought the SUV about five years ago and had given it to a friend but continued paying for its insurance.

An officer spotted the Chevrolet Tahoe with window tinting that was too dark and smelled an odor of marijuana coming from inside after pulling the vehicle over, police Sgt. Matthew Mount said.

The officer saw "shavings of marijuana" on the SUV's front seat and arrested the driver on a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession and a charge of driving with a suspended license, Mount said. The driver told officers he had borrowed the SUV from the person to whom O'Neal had lent it.

"O'Neal's name is just getting dragged through the mud because some yahoo borrowed the car and decided to smoke some marijuana," Mount said.

The incident happened two days after Pacers guard Stephen Jackson was charged with a felony count of criminal recklessness and two other charges for firing a handgun during a fight involving three Pacers teammates and others outside an Indianapolis strip club last week.

O'Neal told The Associated Press he did not know the person who was driving the SUV.

"It's not a car that I drive at any time. It's not a car that I keep at my house. It's not a car that I ride in," O'Neal said Friday night. "Today's my birthday, and I'm in the middle of opening presents and get a phone call about one of my cars being towed. I'm like, 'All my cars are here.'"


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press