Cop: Ward Couldn’t Recite Alphabet
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga (WXIA) - — NFL receiver and former UGA football standout Hines Ward smelled of alcohol, had a hard time keeping his balance and had trouble reciting the alphabet during field sobriety tests.
Those are claims by the officer who arrested him in a DeKalb County police incident report released Monday.
According to the report, officer R. Catalano said "While speaking with him, I smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming off his person and noticed his eyes were blood shot and glassy."
Catalano wrote that Ward swayed back and forth and was getting agitated while conducting the field sobriety tests.
"I asked him to recite the alphabet from D to X which he mixed up letters and omitted letters," the report states.
Ward was stopped early Saturday by a MARTA police officer who said he witnessed Ward fail to maintain lane and at one point strike a curb.
Because the MARTA officer pulled the gray Astin Martin Ward was driving over in DeKalb County, he called a DeKalb officer.
The Pittsburgh Steeler told the officer he had two drinks, the last one two and a half hours before he was stopped.
His attorney said the report can't be taken at face value.
"Since prohibition ended in 1933, drinking and thereafter driving a car is not illegal and what we're contesting at this point is that Mr. Ward was not impaired by that alcohol," said Cory Yager.
Yager is the senior associate of famed DUI attorney William "Bubba" Head.
He said there is no pass or fail for field sobriety tests.
"The report is just that," he said. "It's the police officers subjective opinion of what occurred there, and just because someone writes it in a report doesn't necessarily mean that it's true."
Yager represented another popular sports figure.
On May 26, 2011, DUI and reckless driving charges were dropped against Atlanta Braves pitcher Derek Lowe after a solicitor reviewed his case, including a dash cam video of the field sobriety tests.
Ward's traffic stop was also recorded on the officer dash cam, but because it is an active case it is not available at this time.