Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent was charged with manslaughter on Saturday after the car he was accused of driving while drunk 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 2:21am when his car flipped and then caught fire.
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,” police said.
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.
Brown, 25, was a linebacker on the professional team’s practice squad, but had not played any games with the Cowboys. He had played in one NFL game for the Indianapolis Colts this season before joining the Cowboys.
Brown also played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League last year and for two Arena Football League team, the Jacksonville Sharks last year and the San Antonio Talons this year. Arena football is played indoors on a smaller field than NFL or Canadian outdoor football.
Brent, 24, has started in five games for the Cowboys and played 12 this season since regular starting defensive lineman Jay Ratliff was sidelined with injuries.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones issued a statement expressing his condolences to the family of Brown, who was originally from Missouri.
“We are deeply saddened by the news of this accident and the passing of Jerry Brown. Our hearts and prayers and deepest sympathies are with the members of Jerry’s family and all of those who knew him and loved him,” Jones said.
Brent remained in jail on Saturday and his bond was to be set at his arraignment yesterday morning, 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 US$10,000.