NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman agreed Monday to do 30 hours of community service for a hit-and-run accident he caused by getting on the Santa Ana (5) Freeway ramp going the wrong way. He also made a false statement to police about the accident.
Misdemeanor charges against the 55-year-old former basketball star were dropped under his plea deal, according to Rodman’s attorney, Paul Meyer.
The collision occurred about 12:30 a.m. July 20, 2016, near Main Street in Santa Ana. Rodman never actually made it onto the freeway beyond the exit ramp, Meyer said.
A motorist driving a black BMW south on the 5, north of Broadway, told investigators he saw a white Land Rover coming at him in the wrong direction and swerved to avoid the crash, but slammed into a center-divider wall, California Highway Patrol officer Florentino Olivera said.
The driver and his passenger got out of the BMW and then saw the Land Rover’s driver — who they said they recognized as Rodman — make a U-turn and return southbound in their direction, Olivera said.
Rodman, who sometimes resides in Newport Beach, stopped and had a short conversation with them, but then left the scene without exchanging information, Olivera alleged. The CHP recommended a felony charge be filed because the passenger complained of pain following the crash, he said.
Prosecutors filed only a misdemeanor charge against the former player for the Lakers, Pistons, Spurs and Bulls.
The false statement allegation stemmed from a call CHP officials made to Rodman.
“It was a short phone call asking him about the accident and he was saying, `I was at the gym,’ and they said, `No, you were not at the gym,”‘ before the call was dropped, said Meyer, who chalked it up to a misunderstanding.
“We appreciate the careful review of the district attorney to make the right call in settlement,” Meyer said. “The driving error at night was due to poor sign placement.”
The attorney said the sign “is set far back from the road entry point.”
Rodman would like to visit hospitals as part of his community service, Meyer said.
“There are a lot of hospitals and charities really looking for someone like him — that’s what we intend to do,” Meyer said.
–City News Service