Saturday, November 19, 2011
University of Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel pleaded guilty Friday morning to a driving while intoxicated charge in Boone County Circuit Court.
Pinkel will not face jail time or a fine for the Class B misdemeanor. He received two years of unsupervised probation.
Pinkel, who has been suspended from all football coaching duties for a week, released a letter to fans Friday, apologizing for the incident.
“Social responsibility and discipline are two things I constantly emphasize to our team,” Pinkel said. “My lack of both in this instance will hopefully prove to be a teachable moment and serve as an example to others of what not to do. I’ve stressed to my players that there are consequences to your actions and I face stiff consequences for what I’ve done.”
Pinkel will not coach this afternoon in Missouri’s home finale against Texas Tech. He is not allowed to return to football related duties until Thursday. He will coach in the season finale next Saturday in Kansas City against Kansas.
Details of the arrest continue to emerge. The Boone County Sheriff’s office released the probable cause statement and police report Friday, along with a dashboard video detailing Wednesday night’s arrest.
Deputies began following Pinkel on Highway 63 between the Stadium and Broadway exits. The report said Pinkel was driving 30 mph in a 65 mph zone before speeding up to 65 mph. He then proceeded to exit onto Broadway.
Pinkel was pulled over at 10:09 p.m. on Keene Street near Broadway and Highway 63. After making contact with Pinkel in his vehicle, the deputy returns to his car and makes a call, reporting “I’ve got Coach Pinkel, and he’s drunker than Cooter Brown.”
Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Paul, one of the investigating officers, said Pinkel made a wide right turn from a left-turn lane. He later made a wide left turn, crossing the double yellow line. Pinkel also nearly struck a curb when turning into a parking lot.
“Upon contact with Gary, I observed his eyes to be glassy and bloodshot,” Paul said in his report. “I detected the strong odor of intoxicants on Gary’s breath, which was sustained throughout my contact.”
The arrest report said Pinkel stated he had consumed two glasses of wine between 8-9:30 p.m. When asked later how big the servings of wine were, Pinkel said “jumbo.”
Pinkel was asked to perform sobriety tests and said no, explaining he had an Achilles’ injury.
He agreed to a pair of eye tests that did not involve walking. During one of the tests, he said “I’m not sure if I was sober I could do that.”
During another test, Pinkel was asked to say the alphabet starting with the letter E and ending with R. He performed the test as E-F-G-H-R. When asked a second time start to start at the letter E, Pinkel performed the test the same way.
Pinkel did not consent to a counting test that included counting backward from 73-62 saying, “Are you kidding me? I can’t do that normally.”
Several times throughout the dashboard video, Pinkel tells the deputy he is nervous.
Pinkel’s attorney Bogdan Susan arrived to the scene and talked to a deputy after Pinkel had been handcuffed. He tells the deputy “(Pinkel) hasn’t slept for I don’t know how long.”
Susan also spends a few minutes asking about the different tests conducted, seemingly suggesting the tests might be flawed.
“He had people come to the football office and try to scare these kids to not drink and drive,” Susan said. “He took them to a sobriety test and they all failed. Obviously it depends on how you look at the test.”
When talking about the eye tests with the deputy, Susan mentions Pinkel has had laser surgery before. He also mentions Pinkel’s Achilles’ injury to the deputy.
Pinkel did not originally submit to a blood test, but complied when told he would be taken to Boone Hospital for a blood test “due to exigent circumstances.”
His blood alcohol content has not been released. Since the case is essentially closed, it is unlikely that information will be made public.
While Pinkel will not face jail time, he faces a steep financial penalty from the university. His total loss of compensation could reach more than $300,000. The loss includes one week without pay, with another week’s pay donated to the Wellness Resource Center at Missouri. The rest of the money comes through loss of bonuses, including possible bowl bonuses and a social responsibility bonus.
Correction, posted at 6:58 am Sat., Nov. 19, 2011: Pinkel agreed to eye tests that did not involve walking. The original version posted at 12:01 am incorrectly stated they did not involve "standing." The text above has been changed to reflect the correction.
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