Jerramy Stevens' jail time now up to 7 days
Seattle Times staff reporter
KIRKLAND — Before sentencing Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens yesterday to two days in jail for reckless driving, Judge Albert M. Raines recalled another former University of Washington football player whose life fell apart because of drinking while driving.
Raines told Stevens, who stood before the judge in Kirkland Municipal Court with hands in his pockets, how, one night in 1988, an intoxicated Reggie Rogers drove his car through a red light in Michigan and slammed into a car carrying three teenagers. Rogers, like Stevens a former NFL first-round draft pick, broke his neck and the three teens were killed. He was convicted of negligent homicide and spent a year in jail.
"You don't want to be another Reggie Rogers," Raines told Stevens. "You don't want to cause another tragedy on the freeway."
Yesterday, Stevens was also placed on two years of probation, fined $1,000 and court costs and ordered to perform 25 hours of community service. Those hours will be spent picking up garbage on area roadways, Raines said.
Stevens has now been sentenced to a total of seven days of jail time, the five others for a violation of his probation. The reckless-driving incident, which took place April 3 in Medina, constituted a violation of Stevens' probation imposed two years ago from a hit-and-run conviction while he was at Washington.
The 23-year-old Stevens, his mother, Fran, and attorney Jon Fox made statements on Stevens' behalf during the hour-long hearing.
"I believe I have come to understand Mr. Stevens," Fox said, "and I believe he is growing up."
Stevens was originally charged with drunken driving from the April incident, when he was pulled over in Medina for rolling through a stop sign. Police found two open bottles of champagne in his vehicle.
"You knew that what you did would be front and center for the public to see, just as if you caught two touchdowns," Raines told Stevens. "Yet you still went to the bottle."
Stevens pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of reckless driving on June 10 after prosecuting attorney Russell Joe and Fox reached a plea-bargain agreement.
"I do not have a problem with alcohol," Stevens told Raines. "I want it to be clear that I am doing everything I can. I look forward very much to getting this (sentence) done ... and moving forward with my NFL career."
During the sentencing, Raines disclosed that results of two breath tests showed Stevens with blood-alcohol levels of .14 and .17 percent. The state's legal limit is .08.
Stevens has been evaluated for a possible problem with alcohol by two specialists, not including the NFL's mandated program. The league has called for 10 random urine analyses per month until January 2005, as well as one counseling session per week.
Since May 23, Fox said Stevens has been administered three urine tests a week.
Raines explained why his sentence included picking up trash rather than giving talks in the community.
"I don't think it would be proper to send you forth to talk to the community about the dangers of alcohol abuse when people in your circle say there is no problem," Raines said.
Stevens did not comment on the sentencing after the hearing.
Because of his guilty plea, and as part of his contract with the Seahawks, Stevens may have to forfeit $300,000 of the $2.8 million signing bonus he received after being drafted in 2002. He also could face separate disciplinary action from the NFL.
"The next time you hear from Jerramy, it will be on the football field," Fox said. "He will make us all proud."
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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