Little guilty of driving drunk in '98 fatal accident

Updated: April 24, 2004, 8:12 PM ET
Associated Press

LADUE, Mo. -- Rams defensive end Leonard Little was arrested Saturday and cited for driving while intoxicated, police said. In a 1998 fatal accident, he was driving drunk and pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Police in this St. Louis suburb said Little was arrested shortly before 4 a.m. for a speeding violation on westbound Interstate 64.

A police said Little was booked and released after being issued two traffic summons.

A June 9 court appearance has been scheduled, according to Little's attorney, Scott Rosenbloom. Rosenbloom said he still was reviewing particulars of the latest matter.

He said Little has not been in trouble with the law since the fatal crash.

"He has been absolutely a straight arrow," Rosenbloom said. "We certainly intend to be there with him and defend him of these allegations."

Little's agent, Rocky Arceneaux, did not immediately return a telephone messsage from The Associated Press.

Coach Mike Martz said he learned of the arrest when he arrived at Rams Park for draft day early Saturday.

"This is something we'll have to deal with here in the next weeks," Martz said. "I don't know what happened, what transpired, so I don't feel comfortable making any comments about Leonard's situation whatsoever."

Little went to his first Pro Bowl after last season and has played with the Rams his entire six-year career. He was fifth in the NFL with 12½ sacks, despite missing a month with a torn pectoral muscle. He has 39 sacks the last three years, third-highest over that span.

He was suspended for the first eight games of the 1999 season after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in a June 1998 crash that killed Susan Gutweiler of Oakville. Little was sentenced to 90 days in the city workhouse and four years of probation, as well as ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service.

Bill Gutweiler, Susan Gutweiler's husband, believes the law was too lenient with Little.

"He obviously hasn't learned," Gutweiler said. "I think he was a very lucky man and he got a very lucky break for what he did. I think by achieving stardom in football, I just don't really think he realized how serious this was."

Gutweiler said his family got a small settlement from a civil proceeding against Little.

The accident occurred after a night of celebrating on Little's 24th birthday. A blood test showed Little had a blood-alcohol level of .19, nearly twice the legal limit of .10 at that time.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press