Agent claims tests will absolve Heatley

Originally Published: October 2, 2003
ESPN.com news services

ATLANTA -- With his client and a teammate both still hospitalized with serious injuries suffered during Monday night's high speed crash, agent Stacey McAlpine told the Calgary Sun Thursday night that alcohol was not to blame for Dany Heatley's accident.

"Alcohol was not a factor and that will be confirmed when the results of the blood tests are released by the hospital," McAlpine told the paper after spending Thursday in Heatley's Atlanta hospital room. "I want to point out the cause of the accident is still under investigation ... Obviously, people are taking the liberty of speculating -- and they have every right to do that -- but the fact is there are a lot of possibilities out there."

Heatley took a blood-alcohol test after the crash -- standard in serious accidents -- but results will not be available for weeks, according to police. Heatley, known around the NHL as a solid citizen, has been condemned in a number of media reports for what appears to be a show of recklessness.

McAlpine told the Sun that Heatley is holding up well, despite his injuries and the situation surrounding the crash and teammate Dan Snyder's injuries.

"Under the circumstances he's doing pretty good -- him and his parents are a pillar of strength," said McAlpine. "All he seems to care about is Snyder."

On Wednesday night, the rest of the Atlanta Thrashers beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 in a preseason game.

Snyder is still unconscious and in critical condition with a fractured skull at Atlanta's Grady Hospital.

Heatley already has posted a $50,000 bond, set during a hearing involving a prosecutor and Heatley's attorney. He is scheduled to be in traffic court Oct. 10, the day after the Thrashers open the regular season, to face charges of serious injury by vehicle, a felony; reckless driving, driving too fast for conditions and striking a fixed object, all misdemeanors according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Heatley was also charged with driving on the wrong side of the road, for which an additional $200 bond was levied.

"The district attorney is prosecuting the case because of the felony charge, which automatically makes it our jurisdiction," Erik Friedly, spokesman for Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Police estimated that Heatley's Ferrari was traveling around 80 mph when he lost control on a curve in a two-lane road. The high-performance sports car plunged into a wrought iron and brick wall in front of an apartment complex.

The car was ripped in half. The players were thrown onto the road.

"He has to assume some responsibility for what happened," said Len Tuzman, director of social work at The Zucker Hillside Hospital in New York City. "His guilt is going to be a major issue for him to deal with. Ultimately, he's going to have to learn to forgive himself. But he may never be able to fully do that."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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