View Full Version : Charges dropped against Samaki Walker

09-21-2003, 09:53 AM
Charges against Samaki Walker dropped (http://www.newarkadvocate.com/news/stories/20030920/localnews/297411.html)

NEWARK -- A drunken driving charge against NBA player Samaki Walker is being dropped in Licking County Municipal Court, and the most the pro basketball player will possibly get is a $100 fine for allegedly failing to control his vehicle.

Walker, who signed on with the Miami Heat in early August after playing for the L.A. Lakers, was slated to appear in court Monday morning to face charges of drunken driving, failure to control his vehicle and failing to wear a seat belt.

Instead, the 27-year-old pro basketball player filed a no contest plea to the charge of failing to control his vehicle, and the other charges are being dismissed, said Assistant Law Director Chris Rolland.

"We could not prove what time he operated the vehicle. There was no question he was operating the vehicle, but we can't prove he was operating the vehicle within two hours of taking the blood test," Rolland said Friday.

"It's frustrating when that happens, but occasionally it does happen," he said.

Walker was charged July 9 after he rolled a 2003 red Ford Expedition over the Interstate 70 highway median in Etna Township, according to records. Walker told an Ohio Highway Patrol trooper he had consumed two cranberry vodkas that night and was traveling between 75-80 mph, according to records.

Walker, who was injured in the crash and transported to a Columbus hospital, agreed to a blood test. While there, Walker said he had come from an awards ceremony, consumed two drinks and was en route to see his father in Whitehall, records stated.

According to Ohio law, blood test results in drunken driving cases are admissible only if the test is administered within two hours of the accused operating the vehicle, Rolland said.

The charges being dismissed were not from any sort of plea negotiation, Rolland went on to say, adding Walker's celebrity status bore no influence.

"Absolutely not. We try to be absolutely careful about the appearance of that," Rolland said.

Because Walker pleaded no contest to the charge of failing to control a vehicle, Rolland said he expects Judge Michael F. Higgins to find Walker guilty.

The maximum fine for failure to control a vehicle is $100, and Rolland said he does not expect Walker to appear in court on Monday.

Walker could not be reached for immediate comment Friday night. No phone number could be found in his name.

In August 2000, Walker was charged with eluding, driving with an expired license and reckless operation of a motor vehicle in Franklin County, according to court records.

He was found guilty on the reckless operation charge, and the other two charges were dismissed, according to records.

A 1998 charge of improperly handling a firearm was dismissed, and in 1995, Walker paid a waiver on an offense for driving left of center, records stated.

Reporter Jonathan Athens can be reached at 328-8547 or jathens@nncogannett.com

09-22-2003, 08:48 AM
Of course his charge will be dropped, he's a celebrity. Do we even need to wonder?