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Wednesday, May 9, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Huskies' Wallace questioned in hit-and-run case

Seattle Times staff reporter

University of Washington basketball player Artem Wallace was taken into police custody early Sunday morning on suspicion of being involved in a hit-and-run car accident on Alki Avenue.

Wallace, a 6-foot-8 reserve forward who recently completed his sophomore season at UW, was one of two suspects investigated and then released following an incident at around 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

Seattle police say the men were arrested and released from the Southwest precinct. Police are still investigating, and charges are expected to be recommended to King County prosecutors.

A police report stated that a car hit a motorcyclist from behind on Alki Avenue S.W. The motorcycle then hit a parked car, and the rider fell off.

The vehicle that struck the motorcyclist sped off without stopping to render aid or exchange information, according to a witness quoted in the police report. The witness reported that the vehicle, a 1996 Acura Integra, then lost control about a block north and hit a parked car.

No injuries were reported.

Witnesses described two men opening the trunk of the car and placing several items into a backpack, and putting the backpack in nearby bushes before running off. The backpack was later discovered, and contained several beers and bottles of alcohol, according to the report.

Two police officers arrived soon after the men left the scene of the accident and saw them running north on Alki. When the police officers got out of their car and ordered the two to stop, the pair continued to run before being caught and placed in custody.

The police report described both men as "extremely intoxicated."

Each denied driving the vehicle and none of the witnesses was able to see who had been driving, the report said.

UW coach Lorenzo Romar said he had talked with Wallace about the matter, but that he would reserve comment until the investigation is completed.

The school also released a statement in which Romar said Wallace "is cooperating with the investigation. I am still in the process of gathering all the facts. When all of the information is available, I will determine an appropriate course of action."

Such incidents have been almost non-existent at UW since Romar took over as coach in 2002. Wallace is the first UW player known to have been arrested since then.

Wallace has been primarily a reserve for UW the past two seasons but did start seven games, most coming at the midway point of last season. He averaged 2.4 points. He scored a career-high 12 points in a loss at Arizona and finished the season with one of his best games, scoring 10 in a Pac-10 tournament loss to Washington State.

Wallace graduated from Toledo High School after moving from Russia.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com.

Read his blogs on Washington

football and basketball at www.seattletimes.com/huskies.

Times staff reporter Jennifer Sullivan contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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