TALLAHASSEE (AP) — A Florida State football player was ticketed, but not charged with a crime after briefly leaving the scene of a late night car accident, according to The New York Times.
Friday's article raised questions about whether starting cornerback P.J. Williams received favorable treatment from the Tallahassee Police Department. Williams was driving the car, which also carried two other passengers, including cornerback Ronald Darby.
The report also noted that university police eventually sent two officers to the scene even though the accident happened off campus in an area that is home to many student apartment complexes.
Florida State President John Thrasher strongly denounced the article in a statement sent to university supporters. He said there was no information included the report that supported any of its assertions.
"We are disturbed that a newspaper with a distinguished reputation would print such a speculative story," Thrasher said in his statement.
Eileen Murphy, a New York Times spokeswoman, said it stands by the story.
Williams is expected to play Saturday when the No. 2-ranked Seminoles take on the Miami Hurricanes.
The accident occurred at around 2:30 a.m. Oct. 5. FSU had defeated Wake Forest the previous afternoon.
The police report states that a Century Buick sedan driven by Williams struck another vehicle as it was attempting to make a left turn off a four-lane road. Williams, Darby and a woman in the car left the vehicle and the scene of the accident. They didn't return until 20 minutes later.
Police did not test to see whether the 21-year-old Williams had been drinking.
The report states that there was no indication that he appeared impaired. Records show that initially police planned to impound the car Williams was driving and even labeled it a "hit and run." But instead of charging Williams for a crime, police instead gave him two citations, including failure to yield and driving with a suspended license.
Thrasher said in his statement that while FSU police were on the scene, they "did not participate in the accident investigation, make any arrests or advise any of the student-athletes involved."
Tallahassee police previously had been criticized for its handling of a rape investigation involving FloridaState quarterback Jameis Winston. Winston was not arrested in relation to the sexual assault allegations, and State Attorney Willie Meggs declined to file charges against Winston last December, citing a lack of evidence. TPD did not forward any information about the case to Meggs until months after the victim first spoke to police.
A TPD spokesman would not comment on The New York Times story, which quotes TPD Police Chief Michael DeLeo as saying the department would conduct an investigation to determine what happened. But Officer Dave Northway said the department was "not conducting an internal investigation at this time."
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