March 09, 2009
Unlike the Arizona State fan who passed along the unfortunate early morning exploits of outgoing Arizona quarterback Willie Tuitama -- Willie DUItama, ho ho -- I sympathize with Willie to an extent. Yes, he was allegedly driving drunk Saturday night/early Sunday morning: Not merely drunk, actually, but drunk in the extreme, according to Arizona law, and obviously dangerous. The officer who eventually pulled him over and impounded his car might have saved someone's life.
But as a once-frequent (non-drunk) late-night fast food aficionado, I ask you: Exactly how drunk does one have to be to be forsaken by possibly the most experienced and forgiving person with which a drunk driver can interact, the fast food drive-through operator?
The sergeant who pulled over Tuitama was flagged down by McDonald’s employees near Campbell and East Fort Lowell Road, [Tucson officer Chuck] Rydzak said. The employees said there was a person who was possibly intoxicated in the drive thru.
The answer in Tuitama's case is "drunk enough to achieve a blood-alcohol level of at least 0.15," or just enough to immediately run a red light in sight of the officer responding to the call and be subsequently hit with the "extreme" class of DUI. Tuitama was released into the custody of a passenger in the car, his slim NFL draft hopes likely destroyed.
Willie has partied smarter in the past: When faced with a possible DUI in 2007, Tuitama peeled out of the lot where he was parked, shut off the engine and got out of the car before the officer could approach; since he was standing outside the vehicle when actually encountered, he escaped with only a citation for underage drinking despite admitting to driving and handing over two bottles of alcohol. But play with fire often enough, eventually you get burned.
UPDATE, 6:28 p.m. ET: You must also give Tuitama this -- his wayward burger run wasn't remotely the worst experience a major college player had under the golden arches this month. That "honor" will go to one Jamar Horsnby, the Florida castoff turned Ole Miss signee who went off like an old-school WWF villain in a McDonald's drive-through in Starkville, Miss., back on March 1, the grisly details of which are just emerging (emphasis mine):
First, on the aggravated assault charge, the complaint filed said Hornsby did "unlawfully and willfully, purposely, knowingly and feloniously cause bodily injury to [name excised] with brass knuckles, a deadly weapon, by hitting him repeatedly in the head area causing injuries, to wit, a fractured nose, busted lips, swollen jaw, scrapes and cuts." The incident actually occured at a McDonald's in Starkville. His bond for that charge was $15,000.
Hornsby's motive? The victim -- a total stranger -- apparently rear-ended the car in which Hornsby and two former East Mississippi Community College teammates were waiting in line; the man was subsequently robbed and beaten in the fashion described above, according to police. As mentioned this morning, Hornsby is the same guy who (after being suspended five games for selling his game tickets) was booted from Florida for trying to use a credit card that belonged to a UF student who had recently died in the same motorcycle accident that killed a Gator teammate in 2007. That sick incident was only a misdemeanor that cost Hornsby $9,000 in restitution, a court-ordered essay and a year in junior college before he caught on as part of Ole Miss' monster incoming class last month. Assault with a deadly weapon, though, while on probation, is probably the end of Hornsby's freedom for the foreseeable future, even if the McD's drive-through lane on late Saturday/early Sunday will always remain the most common arrest site in America.
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Hat tip on the Tuitama item to Jonathan, who delivers with a deliciously ironic screenshot, and Mark.