Is it so hard to operate a motor vehicle legally?

October, 12, 2010
10/12/10
1:07
PM ET
Abbott By Henry Abbott
ESPN.com
Archive
Years ago, NBA player Shawne Williams got in trouble with the police. His role in that incident was fairly minor. Apparently he was sober when driving some friends, and his big crime was not signaling a lane change.

But ... see if you can count the many compounding poor decisions that lead to a police report showing that Williams was simultaneously:
  • Driving a Cadillac that was not properly registered,
  • Without a valid license,
  • While neglecting to signal a lane change in front of a cop,
  • In a car thick with marijuana smoke, with an active blunt in the front ashtray,
  • With the butt of an unlicensed, stolen gun visible from outside the car in the back seat.

At the time I wrote about that, I took Williams to task. There were a thousand common sense ways he could have avoided that traffic stop.

(Williams, by the way, was out of the league last season and is currently on the Knicks' training camp roster. This past January he was pulled over with a suspended license, while not wearing a seat belt. Police found drugs in the car and he plead guilty to drug charges.)

In the interest of fairness, though, it's not just players who exercise this kind of judgment. If the police report is to be believed, Kings co-owner George Maloof just made a similar series of decisions in getting himself arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. Tony Bizjak and Kim Minugh report for the Sacramento Bee:
"I didn't feel I was intoxicated," Maloof, who runs the Palms Casino Hotel, told the Bee via phone from Las Vegas this morning. His blood alcohol was .086, he said, barely over the limit.

Maloof was stopped by a traffic officer about 11:30 p.m., according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

He was later booked into the Clark County Detention Center on suspicion of the following charges, police said: driving under the influence of alcohol; speeding 20 to 21 miles per hour over the posted speed limit; making an illegal turn; driving without a valid license and not having proof of insurance.

Maloof said he had worked all day at the Palms prior to the wedding, and was texting the hotel when the officer pulled him over.

He said he was carrying his passport with him for identification, and acknowledged his license had expired.

"I haven't had time" to renew it, he said. "I've been so busy."

Again, there is a lot more that makes its way into police reports than is later proved true, but for the record the police version of events here is:
  • No license,
  • A few drinks in your belly (look at the chart),
  • Without proof of insurance
  • ... and then on top of all that, you're going to speed?

Who thinks like that? Forget for a moment the danger involved, and just considered the sheer boneheadedness. It's amazing.

Also, this is the same team that had a recent head coach pulled over for a DUI, and a star player caught on police cameras racing at insane speeds through freeway traffic.

Henry Abbott | email

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