A traffic incident in Tallahassee, Florida, has ensnared two Florida State University football players in a mysterious web of fleeing from the scene of an accident, a break-in of a nearby store, and raised eyebrows toward police issued punishments that do not seem to fit the crime.
At 2:30 AM on October 5, FSU starting cornerback P. J. Williams allegedly drove a car head-on into another vehicle totaling both cars. Starting cornerback Ronald Darby allegedly traveled with Williams. But when police arrived, both players and a third passenger had fled the scene on foot.
Tallahassee police responded to the off-campus accident and, after determining that one of the cars belonged to Williams’s grandmother, they called FSU campus police who then also responded.
But as the next day dawned, the accident resulted only in traffic tickets instead of being handled as a hit-and-run and despite the fact that police concluded that Williams, the likely driver, had been operating the vehicle on a suspended license.
The New York Times published an extensive account of the incident that revealed that police seem to have ignored quite a few violations, causing many to wonder if they let the players off easy.
Police seem to have allowed the players to escape a lot of consequences. For instance, they never performed alcohol testing, the fact that the players fled the scene only to return hours later was not taken into account, nor was the fact that Williams, named the most valuable defensive player in last season’s national championship game, had a suspended license.
The man driving the car that Williams allegedly ran into says that when the player finally returned to the scene of the accident he apologized for running into him but a female friend told the player to stop talking because he “sounded” like he’d been drinking.
On top of all that, the incident never appeared in the department’s public record database online–a “technical glitch” the police department claimed.
In addition, no report was ever filed by campus officers. Further, the officers who responded were high-ranking members of the campus police, including a shift commander.
In fact, until recently, even the local media did not report any news about the incident.
There is another strange twist in this tale. While Tallahassee police were investigating the accident, one officer noticed that a glass door of an Exxon station not far from the scene had been smashed in.
Surveillance video showed a man breaking into the store and walking out with an armload of merchandise. The video was not clear enough to determine who the man was. The time stamp proved that the break-in occurred within minutes of the car accident.
There is no indication if the players were involved.
Since the accident, P. J. Williams paid fines to clear his earlier suspended license problem, but now has a second suspension as a result of the October 5 accident. To date, those fines have not been paid.
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