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Browns WR Stallworth charged with DUI manslaughter in March accident

  • By Associated Press
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MIAMI -- Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth was charged Wednesday with killing a pedestrian last month while driving drunk.

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

Donte' Stallworth, WR
Cleveland Browns

Career Statistics
Receptions: 296
Yards: 4,383
Touchdowns: 32

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 also will be charged with DUI, which carries a possible six-month sentence plus fines and community service for first offenders.

"Whenever a deadly accident occurs and a driver is impaired, families suffer," Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said 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 Stallworth be released on $200,000 bail.

Stallworth will be prohibited from driving while on bail and not allowed to drink alcohol, according to court documents. He also must observe a 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. curfew and submit to random alcohol and drug testing through the NFL's substance abuse program.

"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," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement issued by the league. "We will continue to monitor the case and review it under our conduct and substance abuse policies."

The Cleveland Browns also released the following statement: "The charges levied against Donte' Stallworth are very serious, and we are disappointed he 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. 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."

A Miami Beach police report said that Reyes was not in a crosswalk on busy MacArthur Causeway when he was struck by the Bentley luxury car driven by Stallworth. The construction crane operator was trying to catch a bus home after finishing his work 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 the home was one of Stallworth's three Miami-area properties -- and then headed out to the causeway, where he struck Reyes.

"I hit a 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 appear "bloodshot and watery."

Stallworth's attorney, Christopher Lyons, didn't immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

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

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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