Johnson had blood-alcohol level of 0.136

Updated: October 20, 2003, 10:04 PM ET
Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Senior Tony Johnson, Penn State's leading receiver, has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Johnson, 21, had a blood-alcohol content of 0.136 when the Mercedes-Benz he was driving was pulled over around 3 a.m. on Oct. 17, authorities said Monday. The legal limit for driving in Pennsylvania is 0.08.

According to the criminal complaint, Johnson was stopped by a university police officer after he twice crossed the center line of Park Avenue, the Centre Daily Times reported Monday.

Johnson, who has 25 catches for 375 yards this season, failed the field sobriety test and was taken to a local hospital for blood tests, authorities said.

The second-degree misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison. A preliminary hearing was set for Nov. 26.

Jeff Nelson, the school's assistant athletic director for communications, said the school had no comment, but expected coach Joe Paterno to address the issue on Tuesday. A telephone listing for Johnson could not be located.

Johnson's father, Larry Sr., is the team's defensive line coach. His older brother and former teammate, Larry Jr., was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the NFL draft in April.

The charges are the latest in a string of off-field incidents that have plagued the Nittany Lions. Offensive lineman E.Z. Smith, 20, was cited for underage drinking twice in one week in August.

Defensive tackle Scott Paxson pleaded guilty to summary charges of criminal mischief after police said they caught him riding an allegedly stolen bicycle, but prosecutors dropped charges of receiving stolen property.

Just days before the season began, defensive back Anwar Phillips was acquitted of sexual assault charges filed last November.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press