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Dr. Saturday

Police officer cleared of wrongdoing in the handling of Bobby Petrino’s accident

Well, at least one person is off the hook in the Bobby Petrino-Jessica Dorrell scandal — the Arkansas State policeman who escorted Petrino to the hospital.

Capt. Lance King, who has worked sideline assignments for Arkansas football since 2003, has been cleared of any wrongdoing in how he handled Petrino's motorcycle accident on April 1.

King provided Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long and ultimately the public a long narrative about his role in the event. In it, King said he called Petrino's cell phone after he was alerted by another officer that Petrino's motorcycle had crashed. His call was not answered, but a woman called him back a couple minutes later and requested that King meet her and Petrino in a parking lot so he could take Petrino to the hospital. King states emphatically that he did not know the woman and didn't provide her name until near the end of the narrative.

Before departing the scene, I verbally provided my cell phone number to the white female who I think put it in her phone. I told her to call me tomorrow and I would have a trooper contact her for an interview. I was at this location approximately one minute.

This white female had blond hair and I think was dressed in jeans. She showed no sign of any injuries. I had never seen this person before in my life.

[…]

Before leaving [the hospital], Mrs. Petrino asked me who transported Coach Petrino to the hospital and I told her that I didn't know, but I had given one of them my cell number and they should call me tomorrow. She asked me to get their names, so she could thank them for their help.

King does make sure to point out — several times throughout the narrative — that he didn't ask about the female passenger, that he didn't know her and that he didn't really respond to questions about her.

Coach Petrino asked if passenger information was required and I said that all we need to know is the passenger's name and address. I told him that we had been getting phone calls from people who had said there was a passenger on the rear of the motorcycle and if we didn't get a name, the report would state unidentified white female. I didn't ask him the name and he didn't ask me to keep her name off the report. [...]

I do not know Jessica Dorrell and I have never met her. Coach Petrino and I did not discuss any passenger information during transport to the hospital or otherwise. I have a professional relationship with Coach Petrino and have never met with him or his family socially.

From King's report, Petrino had to know that his "inappropriate relationship" with Dorrell would eventually be exposed. He should have never lied about being alone on the motorcycle during his media session Tuesday. He could have just said no, he wasn't alone and then let the dominoes fall. It still would have been a scandal, but it might have provided a softer landing.

The report does show that Petrino cooperated with police and didn't try to cover anything up. That might be worth something as Long continues to weight Petrino's future as Arkansas' head coach.

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