According to a complaint sent to me by Portland trial lawyer Sarah Nelson, Van Winkle alleges that Suh not only bribed her with $700 to stay quiet about the accident, but that he also prevented her from calling 911 after suffering facial injuries. According to the complaint, Suh, now entering his third year with the Lions, stopped at a traffic light, only to accelerate moments later to high -- and dangerous, says the complaint -- speeds which ultimately led him to crash into a light pole, among other things.
Suh told Portland police that he attempted to pass a taxi cab. A field sobriety test wasn't administered because Suh didn't show any signs of intoxication, says the report.
The details of this case -- at least Van Winkle's side -- portray Suh as a heartless, careless individual who only cares about himself. Van Winkle is suing Suh for "intentionally inflicting emotional distress," along with medical costs. Van Winkle seeks $500,000 in "non-economic" damages, which is roughly half of her $1 million-plus claim against the Lions star.
Only Suh and Van Winkle know what happened Dec. 3. However, one part of the report sticks out beyond the rest. Van Winkle alleges that Suh physically and verbally intimidated her after the crash.
"You're not hurt, get out of the car," Suh allegedly told Van Winkle.
Not hurt? There are photos that show that to be untrue.
The details will come out in the trial. But one thing seems to be clear: Suh had little to no regard for the safety of his passengers that night. All he cared about was saving his own hide. And if Van Winkle's story is correct -- and it seems pretty convincing after reading it half a dozen times -- Suh intentionally lied to police to avoid a situation.
Well, he avoided police that night. But now he has a law suit to deal with.
Suh recently said that he wants to be a leader; he wants to be a player that teammates look toward for stability and strength. Part of being a leader is telling the truth, no matter the cost. His recent statement seems paper thin and laughable -- he talked so highly of taking accountability for actions -- that it's hard to believe that he's more than talk at this point.
The Lions have had enough problems to deal with during the offseason. Now that they're in training camp, football should be the only concern. But it's not. Now the Suh trial circus will take over and fans might find it difficult to focus solely on the game. Players may find it difficult, too -- no matter their level of professionalism.
It's just another day with the Lions.
Adam Biggers has followed the National Football League for over 20 years, specifically the Detroit Lions. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.
- Politics & Government
- Ndamukong Suh