Former NBA star Dennis Rodman was charged Monday with several misdemeanors, including hit-and-run, for allegedly fleeing the scene of a wrong-way freeway crash in Santa Ana last summer.
Rodman could face up to two years in jail if convicted of one count each of hit-and-run with property damage, driving a motor vehicle across a dividing section, giving false information to a police officer and driving a motor vehicle without a valid license, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
The 55-year-old basketball Hall of Famer, who sometimes resides in Newport Beach, is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 20.
The attorney for the former Laker, Pistons, Spurs and Bulls great blamed the Santa Ana (5) Freeway crash on “poor signage.”
“When all of the facts are considered, this misdemeanor traffic matter will end successfully,” said attorney Paul Meyer. “This incident occurred on an exit ramp, which was poorly signed. Mr. Rodman turned and corrected the driving error, stopped and spoke with the people in the other car. Their cars never touched. We look forward to a discussion of all of the facts.”
California Highway Patrol officers had sought a felony hit-and-run charge.
The collision occurred about 12:30 a.m. July 20 in the carpool lane of the 5 Freeway near Main Street in Santa Ana.
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, according to CHP Officer Florentino Olivera
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 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 allege Rodman gave “false accounts” to investigating officers.
–City News Service