Joshua Brent and Jerry Brown, Jr. were teammates at the University of Illinois, and again with the Dallas Cowboys. But now they will always be thought together because of a tragic accident, which authorities are blaming on alcohol. If proved, Brent will join NFL players Donte Stallworth and Leonard Little in the Hall of Shame for all causing a death while drunk driving.
According to the Chicago Tribune:
Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent was arrested for drunk driving and charged with manslaughter on Saturday after a car he was driving crashed and killed teammate Jerry Brown Jr, in the second tragedy involving NFL players in a week.
Police in the Dallas suburb of Irving said that Brent, 24, was driving at high speed on a state highway at 2:21 a.m. when the car slammed into an “outside curb, causing the vehicle to flip at least one time before coming to rest in the middle of the service road.”
Brown, who had been in the passenger seat, was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital a short time later. Brent suffered “minor scrapes” and was booked into the Irving jail, where he remained on Saturday awaiting arraignment, police said.
“Officers at the scene believed alcohol was a contributing factor in the crash,” police said, adding that Brent was given a sobriety test. “Based on the results and the officer’s observations and conversations with Price-Brent, he was arrested for driving while intoxicated,” Irving police spokesman John Argumaniz said at a news conference.
“I am devastated and filled with grief,” Brent said in a statement released by his agent Saturday night. “Filled with grief for the loss of my close friend and teammate, Jerry Brown. I am also grief-stricken for his family, friends and all who were blessed enough to have known him.
“I will live with this horrific and tragic loss every day for the rest of my life. My prayers are with his family, our teammates and his friends at this time.”…
Brent remained in jail on Saturday and his bond will be set at his Sunday morning arraignment, police said. The drunk driving charge was upgraded to intoxication manslaughter, a second degree felony which is punishable in Texas by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
When police arrived on the scene of the accident after several 911 calls, part of the car was on fire. The 2007 Mercedes sedan was resting on its roof in the middle of the road, and Brent was dragging Brown out of the burning car, said Irving police spokesman John Argumaniz at a news conference.
Police believe, based on gouge marks and other physical evidence at the scene, that Brown was driving faster than the posted 45 miles per hour speed limit…
Brent has been arrested for drunk driving before. While he was on the University of Illinois football team, he was arrested February 23, 2009, on a drunk driving charge, according to Champaign, Illinois, county records. He spent time in the county jail and was suspended from the team, according to local media reports. He eventually left school and was drafted by the Cowboys.
Brent and Brown were teammates at Illinois from 2007-09 under then-coach Ron Zook. Brent was suspended in 2009 after a DUI arrest.
It is not that unusual for a DUI fatality to involve family or friends who are passengers in the vehicle. In Illinois, anyone who is found guilty of a DUI is required to attend a “victim impact panel” where the victims of drunk driving accidents (or the drunk driver himself) tell their stories. Many times, those stories involve brothers and sisters or best friends.
So as we go through another holiday season, please remember to be safe and don’t drink and drive.