Thursday, September 25, 2008
Updated: September 26, 12:28 PM ET
Grand jury finds no probable cause to indict ex-Bear Benson
ESPN.com news services
DALLAS -- Former Chicago Bears running back Cedric Benson won't face charges for two alcohol-related arrests earlier this year, officials said Thursday.
Two Travis County grand juries declined to indict Benson on charges of boating while intoxicated, resisting arrest and driving while intoxicated.
"I appeared before two grand juries yesterday and finally got the chance to tell my side of the story," the former University of Texas player said in a statement Friday. "I am grateful that the grand jurors agreed that I did not commit any crimes.
"This ordeal is finally behind me, but I will use the experience to continue to grow as a person and as a professional football player."
In a statement released Thursday, Sam Bassett, Benson's attorney, said, "Since my initial review of the evidence in both cases, I have said that Cedric was not guilty. I hope that this situation reminds us all that not every person who is arrested for a crime is guilty."
Benson was stopped May 3 while on Lake Travis and charged with boating while intoxicated and resisting arrest. He was then pulled over in downtown Austin on June 7 and arrested on a drunken driving charge.
Travis County Attorney David Escamilla said there were problems in both cases. In the initial arrest, officials did not conduct a field sobriety test and there was no video evidence.
In the driving while intoxicated case, there was video evidence but Benson "appears very well" in the recording, Escamilla said.
Benson's status as a well-known sports figure in Austin did not play a factor in the outcome of the cases, the county attorney said.
"Sometimes it's to his benefit and sometimes it's not," Escamilla said. "We call them as we see them."
Travis County Court-at-Law Judge Elisabeth Earle had previously ordered Benson to install an ignition lock breathalyzer in his car as a condition of his bail at a pretrial hearing in June. Bassett said he believes Earle will allow Benson to remove the device.
The Bears cut Benson after the second arrest in Austin. He is a free agent. Benson's agent did not return a phone call Thursday left by The Associated Press.
Benson was arrested when he was a student at the University of Texas in 2003 on a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge. Misdemeanor drug and alcohol charges against him were dropped in 2002 after an arrest in Midland.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.