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Hornets' Wesley Charged


Charlotte Hornets guard David Wesley was charged with two misdemeanors in a drag-racing crash nearly a month ago that killed teammate and friend Bobby Phills, his lawyer said today.

"I accepted two citations for David in my office yesterday," attorney Ed Hinson said today.

Wesley was charged in the citations with misdemeanor speed competition and reckless driving after Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say he and Phills were racing their Porsches at more than 100 mph near the Charlotte Coliseum on Jan. 12. Phills was killed instantly in a head-on collision with an oncoming car.

Each charge is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Motorists convicted of speed competition also can lose their licenses for up to a year. If convicted, it is unlikely Wesley would go to jail, legal experts have said, but he could be fined and ordered to perform community service.

Wesley is set for an initial appearance before a magistrate on March 6, but he will not be required to appear at that hearing, Hinson said.

"This case will be treated like any other case," he said. "The magistrate will make sure he has a lawyer and then he'll set a trial date."

Wesley was driving with a suspended license at the time of the crash. Prosecutors said last week that he would face the two misdemeanors charges but Wesley had not received the citations at that time.

After the accident, some lawyers said Wesley could be charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle. But they said prosecutors would have a hard time proving that Wesley's driving somehow contributed to the collision.

Phills, 30, who left a wife and two children under the age of 4, signed a $32 million contract with the Hornets in 1997.

The Hornets were expected tonight to retire Phills' No. 13 jersey during halftime of their game with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Phills' parents and widow, Kendall, will participate in the ceremony.

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