MIAMI (AP) — Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth said on a 911 call that the man he struck with his car while driving drunk “came out of nowhere” before the crash.
Stallworth is serving a 30-day jail sentence after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter in the March 14 death of 59-year-old Mario Reyes. Stallworth also reached an undisclosed financial settlement with Reyes' family.
Stallworth has also been suspended indefinitely by the NFL. Attorney David Cornwell, who is representing Stallworth in that matter, released a statement Tuesday after The Miami Herald reported on its Web site, citing unidentified sources, that the receiver tested positive for marijuana after the accident.
Cornwell stated any facts surrounding the case that might soon become public were fully known by law enforcement officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys and the judge when the plea agreement was reached.
Those facts could include the presence of marijuana in Stallworth's blood, according to the lawyer's statement. An individual can test positive for marijuana weeks after its use, meaning its presence in Stallworth's blood doesn't necessarily mean he was under the influence at the time of the accident.
While the marijuana hasn't appeared to play a role in Stallworth's criminal case, it could affect his standing with the NFL and its drug policies.
“The NFL’s substance abuse policy addresses the specific discipline that may be imposed for use of illegal substances,” Cornwell said in his statement. “We are confident that Commissioner (Roger) Goodell will respect existing league polices and consider all of the evidence when making his disciplinary assessment."
Stallworth was driving his black 2005 Bentley on the MacArthur Causeway after a night of drinking at Miami Beach's Fountainebleau hotel when he struck Reyes.
Reyes was a construction crane operator who was rushing to catch a bus after finishing his shift around 7:15 a.m. Stallworth told police he flashed his lights in an attempt to warn Reyes, who was not in a crosswalk when he was struck.
Stallworth had a blood-alcohol level of .126 after the crash, well above Florida's .08 limit. Stallworth stopped after the crash and immediately told officers he had hit Reyes. Police estimated Stallworth was driving about 50 mph in a 40 mph zone.
On the 911 call released Monday, June 29, Stallworth describes how the victim “just ran in front of my car” before he was struck.
“You got to send an ambulance right now, man,” Stallworth told the 911 operator.