Friday, August 22, 2014
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers running backs Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount told police they "pitched in" to buy a bag of marijuana with a female friend shortly before they were pulled over — and Bell acknowledged smoking some, though he told the officer who pulled them over he felt OK to drive, police said in court papers.
The criminal complaints against Bell, 22, and Blount, 27, were made public Friday morning. The complaints charge Bell, Blount and 21-year-old Mercedes Dollson, of Elk Grove, California, with possessing a small amount — or less than 30 grams — of marijuana. Bell was also charged with driving under the influence.
A motorcycle officer in the Pittsburgh suburb of Ross Township pulled over Bell's Chevrolet Camaro when he smelled marijuana coming from it around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, the complaints said.
At first, Officer Sean Stafiej wrote, "Bell told me that he did not have any marijuana in the vehicle."
The officer said he then asked Bell, whose "eyes were red and glassy," and the others whether they had smoked pot that day.
"It was about a minute ago," Bell replied.
When the officer asked what he meant, Bell said, "We smoked within the last two hours," and shortly thereafter all three occupants told the officer "they just picked up the marijuana and that they each pitched in to buy it."
Advised that he would be charged with driving under the influence, Bell said, "I didn't know that you could get a DUI for being high. I smoked two hours ago. I am not high anymore. I am perfectly fine."
Bell continued, explaining, "Why would I be getting high if I had to get on a plane to make it to my game?" the officer wrote. After that, Bell told the officer he played for the Steelers and had to catch a 3:00 flight to Philadelphia. The Steelers played the Eagles on Thursday night in Philadelphia.
The officer said Bell did not appear capable of safely operating the vehicle, so he had him taken to the hospital for a blood test. The suspected marijuana and Bell's blood were to be submitted to the Allegheny County crime lab.
Police said they seized about 20 grams — or three-fourths of an ounce — of marijuana in a plastic bag found in the car's console.
Online court records don't list attorneys for the Steelers or their friend. A district judge mailed out the complaints Friday and scheduled a preliminary hearing for all three on Oct. 15.
Team spokesman Burt Lauten said Friday that the team had no comment on the charges.
Coach Mike Tomlin's called the incident "detrimental to our efforts" after Thursday's 31-21 exhibition loss to Philadelphia.
Bell and Blount both played, but Tomlin said he can't say what will happen now.
"Obviously, we have some things to do regarding the matter moving forward, but not a lot to say regarding it at this point in time," Tomlin said.