Stallworth charged in man's death

Updated: April 2, 2009, 1:51 AM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth was charged Wednesday with killing a pedestrian last month while driving drunk after a night out at a swank South Beach nightspot.

An arrest warrant charging Stallworth, 28, with DUI manslaughter was filed in the March 14 accident that killed 59-year-old Mario Reyes. If convicted, Stallworth would face up to 15 years in prison.

Stallworth's blood-alcohol level after the crash was .126, well above Florida's legal limit of .08, according to results of a blood test. Stallworth will also be charged with DUI, which carries a possible six-month sentence plus fines and community service for first offenders.

Stallworth
Stallworth

"Whenever a deadly accident occurs and a driver is impaired, families suffer," said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle in a statement. "I can only repeat this message over and over: If you are going to drink, don't drive."

Stallworth, who is expected to surrender in court Thursday, released a statement last month saying he was "grief-stricken" over the accident. Prosecutors said they will ask that he be released on $200,000 bail.

The Browns said in a statement that they are "disappointed" that Stallworth has put himself in this position.

"We are saddened by the circumstances that have taken place and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Mario Reyes," the statement said. "We have been in communication with the commissioner, who is reviewing the situation under league policies, and we will withhold further comment at this time."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league will review the case under its conduct and substance abuse policies.

"As the state attorney has said, this was a tragic accident that raises serious issues and we join all those who have expressed their sympathies to the Reyes family," Aiello said.

Stallworth will be prohibited from driving while on bail and not allowed to drink alcohol, according to court documents. He also must observe a midnight to 6 a.m. curfew and submit to random alcohol and drug testing through the NFL's substance abuse program.

A Miami Beach police report said Reyes was not in a crosswalk on busy MacArthur Causeway when he was struck by the black 2005 Bentley luxury car driven by Stallworth. The construction crane operator was trying to catch a bus home after finishing his shift around 7:15 a.m.

The report also quoted Stallworth as saying he flashed his lights at Reyes in an attempted warning and that Stallworth was driving about 50 mph in a 40 mph zone.

An additional police affidavit filed Wednesday said that on the morning of the crash, Stallworth was drinking at a club in the posh Fountainebleau hotel on South Beach. He left to go to a nearby home -- it's not clear if it was one of his three Miami-area properties -- and then headed out to the causeway where Reyes was struck.

"I hit the man lying in the road," Stallworth told officers arriving to investigate the crash, according to the affidavit. One officer smelled alcohol on Stallworth's breath and said that his eyes appeared bloodshot and watery.

Stallworth's attorney Christopher Lyons did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

Stallworth signed a seven-year, $35 million contract with the Browns before last season but was injured much of the year. He previously played for New England, Philadelphia and New Orleans.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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