Sutton to be arraigned Friday for drunk driving

Updated: May 3, 2006, 9:50 AM ET
Associated Press

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Oklahoma State University basketball coach Eddie Sutton will be arraigned Friday on an aggravated drunken driving charge, the district attorney's office said Tuesday.

Sutton, 70, was accused of driving drunk when he struck another vehicle, then crashed his university-provided 2006 Dodge Durango into a tree Feb. 10.

He was charged Feb. 17 with the misdemeanor after his blood test revealed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.22, almost three times the legal limit.

Payne County District Attorney Rob Hudson said he expected Sutton to enter a plea at his arraignment.

"We have made an offer or recommendation in the case. We anticipate that he will plead Friday," Hudson said. "However ... that really is the call of the defendant."

Hudson said a normal recommendation in a case like Sutton's is a one-year deferred sentence.

Attorneys for Teresa Barnard, the driver of an SUV struck by Sutton, said that prosecutors notified them about the deal that will require Sutton to be on probation, pay a fine and court costs, and have treatment.

"That's all he's looking at getting," said Chris Sloan, an attorney for Barnard. "She's not too happy about it."

Barnard, who sustained minor injuries and was released at the scene of the crash, does not want Sutton to go to jail but questions whether he will be required to get sufficient treatment, Sloan said.

Hudson said Sutton has been through five weeks of inpatient alcohol treatment and now is in an outpatient phase.

"I'm hopeful that it will be adequate," Hudson said. "It's a little bit more intense than many of the inpatient treatments that we see done."

Sutton's attorney, Trace Morgan, said in a statement that his client has always stressed the importance of accountability to his team and that he continues to lead by example.

"Coach has never backed away from his responsibilities and he will continue to address those head on, straight up and with no excuses," Morgan said. "He continues to work through his health challenges as he said he would do."

Sutton's court appearance was delayed because he had back surgery and has been undergoing treatment for alcoholism.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press