Stallworth pleads guilty to DUI manslaughter

Published 1:03 am Tuesday, June 16, 2009

MIAMI (AP) — Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth has agreed to plead guilty to a DUI manslaughter charge and would do some jail time for a Miami car crash in which a pedestrian was struck and killed, authorities said Monday.

Stallworth, 28, is scheduled to appear Tuesday in a Miami courtroom to enter the plea. If accepted by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy, Stallworth would serve a short jail sentence for the March 14 crash, followed by lengthy probation and numerous conditions, Terry Chavez, spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, told The Associated Press.

Miami Beach police said Stallworth was drinking at a bar in the swank Fountainebleu hotel. He left to go to a nearby home — he owns three properties in the Miami area — and then headed out in his black 2005 Bentley on MacArthur Causeway, which links the beach to downtown Miami.

Email newsletter signup

Prosecutors say Stallworth hit 59-year-old Mario Reyes, a construction crane operator who was rushing to catch a bus after finishing his shift around 7:15 a.m. Stallworth told police he flashed his lights in an attempt to warn Reyes, who was not in a crosswalk when he was struck.

Chavez said Reyes’ family has been pushing hard to resolve the case.

‘‘We have been in intense negotiations for the past couple of days,’’ Chavez said. ‘‘We always take the victim’s wishes into account.’’

Stallworth had faced up to 15 years in prison on the DUI manslaughter charge, but the plea deal calls for far less time. Chavez would not provide details on the penalties, nor would Stallworth attorney Christopher Lyons.

‘‘There is a plea agreement and it’s going to be presented to the judge,’’ Lyons said.

Stallworth had a blood-alcohol level of .126 after the crash, well above Florida’s .08 limit. He had previously pleaded not guilty and Lyons initially pledged to mount a vigorous defense.

But Stallworth has also has cooperated with investigators and issued a statement shortly after the crash expressing sympathy for Reyes’ family.

‘‘He’s shown remorse and taken responsibility from day one,’’ Chavez said.

Stallworth stopped after the crash and immediately told officers he had hit Reyes. Police estimated Stallworth was driving about 50 mph in a 40 mph zone.

Stallworth signed a seven-year, $35 million contract with the Browns before last season but was injured much of the year. He also has played for New England, Philadelphia and New Orleans.

The National Football League has said it will review the matter for possible disciplinary action after the legal case is completed.