Police arrested and detained Heisman Trophy-winning running back Ricky Williams for six hours after the New Orleans Saints player refused to sign a traffic ticket, authorities said today.
Troopers pulled Williams over in his 1999 Hummer about 9:24 p.m. Monday night, said Tom Vinger, spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.
A trooper reported that Williams swerved from the far right lane to the far left lane without signaling, disrupting traffic on the three-lane street near downtown, Vinger said.
When the trooper pulled him over, Williams "was upset. He was not particularly cooperative," Vinger said. The football player refused to sign the ticket for failing to signal a lane change, a charge that carries a maximum $200 fine, he said.
Vinger said the signature is a promise that he would later contact the court about the ticket. The trooper arrested Williams and took him to the Travis County Jail to face a judge.
A jail operator said Williams was booked at 10:08 p.m. Monday and released at 4:24 a.m. today.
"It is absolutely terrible judgment (by the police)," Joe Jamail, a lawyer who represents Williams told the Dallas Morning News. "They (the police) know who he is and where he lives. They don't take you to jail for refusing to sign a ticket. I'm incensed about it."
Jamail didn't immediately return calls from The Associated Press today.
The Morning News said Williams was talking on a cell phone with his mother while the police were with him.
She said her son told her a police car trailed him for about one mile from the time he left the library to his apartment and that officers seemed to be looking for a reason to pull him over.
"I heard the whole thing," she said. "The officer said something about him not signaling while changing lanes and that he was getting a ticket. Ricky said, 'Hell no. Not again. Not now.' I told him not to say anything and to sign the ticket. But they told him to get out of the car, and then they took him to jail."
Williams won the Heisman Trophy in 1998. He returned to the University of Texas to take classes this semester.
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