Seattle Seahawks rookie running back Lamar Smith was charged with one count of vehicular assault Thursday in the crash that left teammate Mike Frier paralyzed.
Frier, a 300-pound defensive tackle, is not expected to ever be able to walk again.
King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng said Smith drank at least five beers and six and one-half ounces of scotch during a 3-hour period at two suburban Kirkland establishments before driving his 1992 Oldsmobile Bravada into a utility pole Dec. 1.
Frier, 25, had a three-year, 34-game NFL career with the Seahawks and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Seahawks running back Chris Warren, the AFC rushing champion, also was in Smith’s vehicle.
Although the players all said Smith, not Warren, was driving Smith’s vehicle, Thursday’s announcement about the filing of the felony charges against Smith was the first official word that Smith was the driver.
Maleng said Warren initially told police that he, not Smith, was driving.
Maleng said fibers taken from the shattered windshield matched with Warren’s clothing and placed him in the passenger side of the vehicle.
Because Smith was not arrested the night of the crash, he was not given a blood test.
However, Smith’s blood-alcohol level was estimated to have been at a range of at least between .09 and .13, Maleng said.
The legal limit for being drunk in the state of Washington is .10.
Maleng said Smith was driving about 50 mph, 20 mph more than the posted speed limit, before the crash at 8:40 p.m. on a dark, rainy street.
Smith made an illegal maneuver by passing a car in the middle left-turn lane, Maleng said. As he began to return to the proper lane, his vehicle struck a median and then ran into the utility pole, the prosecutor said.
Because Warren was arrested, he was given a blood test the night of the crash. But Kirkland police Thursday refused to divulge Warren’s blood alcohol level since he hasn’t been charged.
Smith, 24, will be arraigned Feb. 3. The standard in this type of case is three- to nine months in jail.