Photo: Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap, Sept. 26, 2009.
(AP Photo )
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (CBS/AP) Carlos Dunlap, defensive end at top-ranked Florida, was arrested early Tuesday and charged with driving under the influence, days before the biggest game of the Gator's season. According to police, the star pass rusher was literally asleep at the wheel while his car idled at a stop light.
As Florida takes on No. 2 Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship game, could they be without one of the team's best defensive threats?
Dunlap, a junior from North Charleston, S.C., was released Tuesday morning on his own recognizance after his initial appearance at the Alachua County Jail. He was arrested at 3:25 a.m.
"We are aware of the incident and are currently gathering more information," coach Urban Meyer said in a statement released by the school.
Meyer was expected to address the situation in more detail after practice Tuesday.
According to Gainesville Police spokesman Keith Kameg, an officer was dispatched to check out reports of a reckless driver near campus. When the officer spotted the car stopped at an intersection, he noticed the red 2000 Chrysler was not moving through several green lights.
The officer found Dunlap slumped over and asleep at the wheel. The officer woke up Dunlap through a cracked window, but he "would only open his eyes momentarily and then fall back asleep," Kameg said.
The officer unlocked the door, put the car in park and turned off the ignition. Dunlap got out and "was very groggy and had difficulty speaking and listening to instructions," Kameg said.
According to police, Dunlap had watery and bloodshot eyes, and there was a smell of alcohol. Dunlap failed a field sobriety test, refused a breath test and was booked.
Dunlap, the defensive MVP of last season's Bowl Championship Series national title game, has started every game this season for the defending champs. He has 35 tackles and is tied for the team lead with seven sacks heading into Saturday's SEC title game.