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  1. #1
    ZigZagRam's Avatar
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    Little Speaks - Awesome Article

    Leonard Little discusses his drunken driving arrest
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Saturday, Apr. 09 2005

    Rams defensive end Leonard Little simply says he was with some friends the
    night of April 23, 2004.

    "Not players or anything like that," Little said Saturday. "But I was with some
    friends, and we were just hanging out. Listening to music. It wasn't anything
    wild or anything like that."

    Little's alcohol consumption that night?

    "Just two beers," Little said.

    Well after midnight on what became April 24, Little headed home on Highway 40.
    He lives in St. Charles, but had to drop off a friend first.

    "I was just trying to get home," he said. "I was tired. It was late. And I'm
    not usually up that late. I was just trying to get home. I saw the (police)
    lights behind me. I got pulled over to the side of the road."

    He was charged with speeding and drunken driving after being questioned by
    Ladue police officer Gregory Stork and given field sobriety tests. Little
    refused to submit to a breath analysis test at the Ladue police station, which
    would have pinpointed accurately his blood-alcohol content.

    Stork later would testify in court that there was no doubt in his mind that
    Little was drunk. Little's attorney, Scott Rosenblum, portrayed Stork as a
    police officer with an agenda of making as many DWI arrests as he could.

    "I don't have anything against the police officer," Little said. "He was a nice
    guy, but I think he just had bad intentions. That's the only comment I'll make
    about it. I'm not here to bash the police department, because I respect police
    and I respect authority."

    More than 11 months later - on April 1, 2005 - a St. Louis County jury found
    Little guilty of speeding but acquitted him of the felony drunken driving
    charge. Had he be found guilty of drunken driving, Little could have been
    sentenced to four years in jail under Missouri's persistent offender law
    because of a previous drunken driving offense, one that led to a fatality. He
    also could have been subject to suspension by the National Football League.

    While waiting nearly five hours for the verdict, Little kept reading a prayer
    given to his mother from James White, a pastor from back home. (Little is from
    Asheville, N.C.; White is from nearby Spartanburg, S.C.)

    "It said: 'Be strong and courageous. Don't be anxious. Live life anew.' Which
    means start a new life," Little said. "It really helped me out. God's given me
    confidence, and I had that faith that everything was going to work out fine."

    In his first comments to the media about the trial and about the 2004 arrest,
    Little told the Post-Dispatch: "The people that support me, and the people that
    know me, knew I wasn't intoxicated driving."

    Even so, Little conceded that having anything to drink and getting behind the
    wheel of his 2003 Mercedes, "was stupid on my part. That was a dumb mistake I
    made that night, driving home, even though I wasn't intoxicated."

    It's a lesson many think Little should have learned in October 1998, when the
    Lincoln Navigator he was driving in downtown St. Louis collided with a car
    driven by Susan Gutweiler of Oakville. Gutweiler, 47, was killed. Little
    admitted he was drinking, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, and was
    sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service, 90 nights in jail, and four
    years probation.

    After the latest incident, Little said he will bring a designated driver with
    him if he ever goes out for a beer again.

    "I guarantee you that," Little said. "But I doubt if I ever touch any alcohol
    at all again. It's not worth it. It's not worth my family. It's not worth my
    career. ... I've had plenty of time to think about it. And it's not worth it.
    So it's best for me not to do it at all, than to do it and get myself in
    another jam."

    Little says he rarely drinks alcohol.

    "Probably once a month," he said. "A lot of guys go out and they ask me to go
    out. I always stay home. I don't put myself in that environment too often. I'm
    always at home, usually watching TV. That's my best hobby - watching TV."

    Of course, Little went out once too often in 1998. That year, several teammates
    took him out drinking on Oct. 19, the night of the drunken-driving fatality, to
    celebrate Little's 24th birthday.

    "If I could take back what happened I would," Little said. "I'd give everything
    back. That was the dumbest decision I ever made in my life. It's going to weigh
    on me probably for the rest of my life.

    "Whenever I leave this earth, it's going to stay with me. There's no day that I
    don't wake up, there's no day that I don't walk into that stadium, there's no
    day that I'm with my mom and my daughter that I don't think about it. I'm the
    person that was held accountable that night. And I failed."

    Little said he still wants to meet with the Gutweiler family - minus the media
    and minus attorneys - to say he's sorry and to ask their forgiveness.

    "I think it will help because they'll see how I really feel about the whole
    situation, instead of hearsay and stuff like that," Little said. "Put it out on
    the table, that's the only thing I can do. Hopefully, they'll accept it a
    little bit and just try to make things better.

    "I try to put myself in their shoes, losing a mother. A mistake I made cost
    somebody their life. And that's hard to deal with. I know God has forgiven me
    for it. But have I forgiven myself for it? I don't think I ever will."

    Even if he never meets the Gutweiler family, Little said he would like the
    general public to know, "that I'm not this heartless guy that doesn't care. ...
    I'm not just this machine that plays football and doesn't care about anything
    else but playing football."

    Despite everything that has happened, Little says he can be a role model and a
    positive influence. In fact, he thinks that is his obligation. He already is
    involved in several charitable endeavors and community service efforts in North
    Carolina and St. Louis. He would like to do more.

    As for those who think he has a drinking problem, or would be in jail if he
    wasn't an athlete, Little says:

    "People can say anything they want to about it. But until they know me, until
    they've been around me, then all that stuff means a hill of beans. It's just
    opinions.

    "This whole ordeal has made me so much stronger than I was before. People can
    say anything about me, and it doesn't bother me at all. Because I know deep
    down in my heart what type of person I am."
    Last edited by ZigZagRam; -04-10-2005 at 12:36 AM.


  2. #2
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Little Speaks - Awesome Article

    Very good article.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Little Speaks - Awesome Article

    He is certainly saying all the right things. If he is sincere, then at least something positive has come from this whole mess.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  4. #4
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    Re: Little Speaks - Awesome Article

    I am glad that Little has felt the need to share with the public. He does sound sincere and he is saying the right things. Perhaps he still can be a role model.

    I know I would hate to be in his position, because once you make a mistake that takes someone's life you can't go back and fix it, no matter how many times you wish to go back and change things. This DUI issue has brought back those bad feelings for many yet again.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #5
    moklerman Guest

    Re: Little Speaks - Awesome Article

    Yeah, you can't criticize Little or his press agents for coming up with the right things to say.

    A couple of things that I wonder about are:

    Has the family of the dead woman refused to meet with Little up to this point or has Little's schedule been too busy?

    Also, I know I'll take heat for this one, Little proclaims many times in many ways how regretful he is about what he's done but also says God has forgiven him. Basically, he's gotta feel guilty because that's how he's supposed to feel but he still get's into heaven.

    I want to believe what he's saying is true and that he's sincere but I'm very skeptical about what he says vs. what he does. The timing of the statement is weird to me too. One thing he said that stuck in my mind was that he was driving someone home before he got pulled over. That would lead me to believe he wasn't drunk, but that's based on what a sensible person might do. If he was drunk (we'll never know) and HE was driving others home?

  6. #6
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    Re: Little Speaks - Awesome Article

    Little's statements sound sincere, but if everything he said is true, the refusal to take a breath test just doesn't fit. If he was confident in his innocence, he should have done the right thing and taken the test which would have proven he was telling the truth. By not taking the test, he looked like a man with something to hide.

    In any case, it's over and hopefully he will live up to his guarantees and promises to never let anything like this happen again and be a role model with a positive influence. I'm pulling for him.

  7. #7
    ZigZagRam's Avatar
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    Re: Little Speaks - Awesome Article

    Little's statements sound sincere, but if everything he said is true, the refusal to take a breath test just doesn't fit. If he was confident in his innocence, he should have done the right thing and taken the test which would have proven he was telling the truth. By not taking the test, he looked like a man with something to hide.
    ...or a man whose lawyers would advise him not to take a breathalyzer test even if he has one drink. Those things aren't foolproof and one mistake puts Little in jail for 4 years.

    I really do hope he meets with the Gutweiler family though.

  8. #8
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    Re: Little Speaks - Awesome Article

    Quote Originally Posted by ZigZagRam
    ...or a man whose lawyers would advise him not to take a breathalyzer test even if he has one drink. Those things aren't foolproof and one mistake puts Little in jail for 4 years.

    I really do hope he meets with the Gutweiler family though.
    Or maybe his lawyers advised him not to take a breathalyzer because they knew he had more than two beers. Breathalyzers are not foolproof, but courts will allow some give-and-take when the estimated BAC is a close call. A man Little's size, after drinking two beers would have had nothing to worry about and should have taken the test. Based on a standard of .08%, Little would have been fine even with an eronious reading of .09% or .10%, which would have been highly unlikely if he truely had only two beers. The problem for Little would have been a reading in the .12% or .13% range, but we'll never know because the legal process was not allowed to work in his case.

    I'm sure the Gutweiler family would have liked to have seen a test that showed Little was not drunk.

  9. #9
    moklerman Guest

    Re: Little Speaks - Awesome Article

    Why is it that the breath-a-lyzer test is voluntary? If the police have gone to the trouble of arresting you and taking you downtown aren't you past the point of harrassment or privacy?

    It seems like a pointless loophole in the system. Other than to protect someone who's borderline/guilty of being over the limit. What am I missing?

  10. #10
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Little Speaks - Awesome Article

    Quote Originally Posted by moklerman
    Why is it that the breath-a-lyzer test is voluntary? If the police have gone to the trouble of arresting you and taking you downtown aren't you past the point of harrassment or privacy?

    It seems like a pointless loophole in the system. Other than to protect someone who's borderline/guilty of being over the limit. What am I missing?
    It is a bit confusing to see someone refuse a breathalyzer test with no consequences. If you can get out of a DUI conviction by refusing a breathalyzer test, what's the point of it all??

    In California you are required by law to submit to a breathalyzer if requested by a police officer. Failure to do so results in an automatic one-year suspension of your license.

    I may have missed it, but in all Little's statements, I've never seen any explanation for refusing the breathalyzer.

  11. #11
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Little Speaks - Awesome Article

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike
    In California you are required by law to submit to a breathalyzer if requested by a police officer. Failure to do so results in an automatic one-year suspension of your license.
    I'm pretty sure the same law exists in Missouri, but Little might be exempt because his driver's license is from Tennessee. I really don't know on this one, though.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Little Speaks - Awesome Article

    Quote Originally Posted by NickSeiler
    I'm pretty sure the same law exists in Missouri, but Little might be exempt because his driver's license is from Tennessee. I really don't know on this one, though.
    Nick, you never cease to amaze. How on earth did you find out where Little's driver's license is from? :redface:
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  13. #13
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: Little Speaks - Awesome Article

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison
    Nick, you never cease to amaze. How on earth did you find out where Little's driver's license is from? :redface:
    Howard said elsewhere that Little's license is from Tenn. :redface:
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  14. #14
    1st & Goal Guest

    Re: Little Speaks - Awesome Article

    States have agreements about suspension. TN should suspend his licence for 1 year. Reason they can not force you to take the test is self incrimination. Basicly he took the 5th (no pun intended). Can not be compeled to give evidence against yourself. :ramlogo:

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