Kiffin crashed Lexus in August

Updated: January 20, 2010, 1:00 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Lane Kiffin was behind the wheel of his leased Lexus in August when, the coach said, he fell asleep and crashed the car, a high-ranking University of Tennessee official confirmed to ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach on Tuesday.

Also, Kiffin told athletic director Mike Hamilton that he had been at the football complex for a late meeting that night and said that he was heading home when he got into the accident, according to the source.

Kiffin walked home from the scene of the wreck, a high-ranking Tennessee source told ESPN's Dwayne Bray.

Kiffin left Tennessee after only 14 months on the job to become coach at USC. An atmosphere of animosity in Knoxville has led to Internet and blog chatter about his actions during his time working for Tennessee.

Hamilton interviewed Tennessee assistant football coaches to corroborate Kiffin's whereabouts that night, and one assistant confirmed having seen the coach in the athletic offices at approximately midnight. The accident occurred in the early morning hours. Tennessee officials said the time between Kiffin's last being seen in the offices and the crash was unaccounted for. The university did not pay for the repairs to the damaged car, according to the source.

Earlier in the day, WVLT-TV in Knoxville reported that Andy White, an employee of a Lexus dealership in Knoxville, confirmed that a Lexus leased to Kiffin was involved in a one-car accident.

White did not specify the date of the incident, where it happened or who was driving the vehicle, which was leased to Kiffin through the coach's vehicle program for Tennessee men's and women's athletic teams.

White told the station: "The proper authorities were contacted and the vehicle was towed to our location. Coach Kiffin's insurance was contacted and promptly paid the claim."

Knox County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Martha Dooley told the station there were no reports of any accident filed by Kiffin in 2009. Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Darrell DeBusk also told the station there were no reports of any accident filed by Kiffin in September or October.

USC sports information director Tim Tessalone told ESPN's Shelley Smith on Tuesday that Kiffin would have no comment on the accident, that it's not a new story and that he addressed it with the media when it happened.

Mark Schlabach covers college sports for ESPN.com.