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Former Steeler Dies in Crash

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  • RamsFanSam
    started a topic Former Steeler Dies in Crash

    Former Steeler Dies in Crash

    HERKIMER, N.Y. (AP) -- A former player for the Pittsburgh Steelers led state troopers on a 40-mile chase along the New York State Thruway during morning rush hour Thursday before dying in a fiery head-on collision with a tanker truck carrying corrosive acid.

    State police identified the victim as Justin Strzelczyk, 36, an offensive lineman with the Steelers for nearly a decade until the team released him in February 2000.

    Troopers said Strzelczyk crashed his pickup truck into the westbound tanker just moments after swerving around a tractor-trailer that had pulled across the highway to block its path in the eastbound lanes.

    Strzelczyk drove 15 miles on three tires and a rim after one of his pickup's tires was punctured by metal spikes thrown into the road by troopers.

    "It could have been so much worse. We're fortunate that only one person died," said Trooper Jim Simpson, a state police spokesman.

    "It looked like an airplane crash. There was quite a lot of diesel fuel spilled that was burning. The pickup was almost unrecognizable," he said.

    Strzelczyk, who lives near Pittsburgh in McCandless, Pa., had been involved in another minor accident about an hour earlier just west of Syracuse, which started the bizarre turn of events, Simpson said.

    The hit-and-run occurred about 7:20 a.m. and state police put out an alert for Strzelczyk's pickup. Troopers spotted him about 40 minutes later still heading east on the Thruway just west of Canastota, midway between Syracuse and Utica.

    A second unit tried to stop the pickup by booby-trapping the road with the "stop sticks," but Strzelczyk just kept on going, Simpson said. The pickup was clocked at 88 mph, Simpson said.

    "He was going down the road, flipping off the troopers. He even threw a beer bottle at them," Simpson said.

    A "good Samaritan" trucker, who police were unable to identify, saw the chase and pulled his rig across the road. Instead of stopping, the pickup drove across the grass median into the westbound lanes and traveled about three miles in the wrong direction before the deadly crash.

    Commenting on the trucker's actions, State Police Capt. Donald Faughnan said, "it's always a judgment call. Sometimes the actions work out, sometimes they don't. We prefer civilians not get involved unless we ask them to. But maybe (the trucker) helped prevent something worse."

    The collision with the tanker occurred near Herkimer at about 8:15 a.m. while the highway was busy with morning commuters and travelers. The driver of the tanker suffered only minor injuries. No one else was hurt.

    Troopers said Strzelczyk was traveling at nearly 90 mph when the collision occurred. He was ejected from the pickup truck and both vehicles burst into flames.

    The driver of the tanker was identified as Harold Jackson, 60, from Bowman, S.C., police said. Though he was not hurt he was taken to a hospital for observation because he recently had heart surgery.

    Troopers said they were unsure why Strzelczyk was in upstate New York and why he fled. They added that toxicology tests will be conducted.

    The crash caused Thruway officials to close a 13-mile stretch of the highway. The eastbound lanes re-opened after five hours. The westbound lanes were not expected to reopen until later Thursday because of the significant cleanup required to make the road passable, Simpson said.

    Simpson said it also was fortunate that the tanker did not spill any of its hazardous cargo.

    As a precaution, residents in Herkimer, Ilion and Mohawk were advised to stay indoors until the heavy smoke caused by the fire dissipated.

    The 6-foot-3, 309-pound Strzelczyk, who grew up in West Seneca, N.Y. a suburb of Buffalo, was an 11th-round pick in the 1990 NFL draft out of the University of Maine. He spent nine years with the Steelers and played in the 1995 Super Bowl.

    Strzelczyk was one of the team's most durable players before a knee injury against Kansas City in October 1998 required season-ending surgery. He reinjured the knee preparing for training camp the next season and needed another operation that kept him on injured reserve for the entire 1999 season.

    In his first eight seasons with Steelers, Strzelczyk missed just two games, both in 1997. Over his nine-season career with Pittsburgh, he played in 137 games and started in 75.

    Nine months after his release by the Steelers, Strzelczyk was arraigned for illegal possession of a gun. Police said he slammed a loaded handgun onto a bar in Pittsburgh when discussing the presidential election with a friend.

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  • Chiledog
    Maurice Clarett arrested again..
    by Chiledog
    From SI...

    After being arraigned earlier this year on armed robbery charges, former Ohio State star Maurice Clarett found himself in custody again Wednesday after a highway chase.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- "Maurice Clarett was arrested early Wednesday after a highway chase that ended with police using Mace on the former Ohio State running back and finding four loaded guns in his sport utility vehicle.

    Officers used Mace to subdue Clarett after a stun gun was ineffective because the former Fiesta Bowl star was wearing a bullet-resistant vest, Sgt. Michael Woods said.

    "It took several officers to get him handcuffed," Woods said. "Even after he was placed in the paddy wagon, he was still kicking at the doors and being a problem for the officers."

    Police planned to charge him with carrying concealed weapons and other counts, Woods said. He was taken to police headquarters to be interviewed, then was moved to the Franklin County Jail.

    Wearing tan jail-issue clothes, he talked on the telephone in the booking area, separated from reporters by a window. He was to be held at the jail at least until an arraignment Thursday morning, unless his attorneys work out an agreement for his release, police said.

    Clarett made an illegal U-turn on the city's east side and failed to stop when officers, in a cruiser with lights flashing, tried to pull him over, Woods said.

    Police pursued Clarett onto eastbound Interstate 70 when he darted across the median and began heading west. Clarett drove over a spike strip that was placed on the highway, flattening the driver's side tires of the SUV.

    Clarett exited the highway and pulled into a restaurant parking lot, where officers removed him from the SUV after he failed to obey numerous orders to exit the vehicle, Woods said.

    After Clarett was placed in a police van, officers discovered a loaded rifle and three loaded handguns in the front of his vehicle.

    Woods said he did not know where Clarett got the guns or why he had them, and that federal authorities plan to trace their ownership.

    The 22-year-old Clarett is currently awaiting trial on two counts of aggravated robbery, four counts of robbery and one count of carrying a concealed weapon in a separate case. Authorities said he was identified by witnesses as the person who flashed a gun and robbed two people of a cell phone in an alley behind the Opium Lounge in Columbus in the early hours of Jan. 1.

    Messages seeking comment were left Wednesday morning for Clarett's attorneys in that case, Nick Mango and Michael Hoague.

    Clarett scored the winning touchdown in the second overtime of the Fiesta Bowl against Miami to lead Ohio State to the 2002 national championship, the school's first since 1968. But that was the last game the freshman played for...
    -08-09-2006, 06:40 AM
  • Nick
    Man gets cut in half by train... and calls 9-1-1 himself!
    by Nick
    Rail worker phones for help after train severs legs
    Posted on Thu, Jun. 29, 2006
    By DAN X. McGRAW
    Star-Telegram Staff Writer

    His voice crackling, the man spoke frantically to a 911 dispatcher as he ran along a bloody trail leading to another man trapped underneath a rail car.

    “It’s bad, it’s bad,” he shouted over the phone. “He’s cut in half. It’s real bad.”

    It was one of three 911 calls the man made, hoping to get help for a co-worker whose legs were severed in a rail car accident in Cleburne.

    But 911 had already gotten a call — from the victim himself.

    Truman Duncan, 36, remained in critical condition at Harris Methodist Fort Worth hospital Thursday, four days after the accident.

    Duncan, a Gunderson Southwest rail yard worker, either slipped and fell on the tracks or was attempting to cross the tracks when he was struck by a slow-moving rail car about 8 a.m. Sunday, Cleburne police said.

    After being hit, Duncan was dragged about the length of a rail car, between 60 to 75 feet, before being pulled under the car, said Keith Scarbrough, Cleburne’s assistant fire chief.

    Then, as he was entangled in the steel wheels and brakes of the rail car up to his torso, he reached for his cell phone and called 911.

    On the emergency call, Duncan is panting and out of breath. But he tells the operator that he has been run over by a rail car and needs assistance, possibly CareFlite.

    “I think I’m cut in two,” Duncan said.

    “Someone got run over?” the operator responded.

    “It was me,” Duncan continued. “I guess I’m going into shock. Hurry up ma’am because I’m about to pass out.”

    The call was disconnected. Fire officials said Duncan then called his wife to tell her what happened.

    One of Duncan’s legs had been severed at the hip, and the other was severed around the knee, officials said.

    Through a hospital spokeswoman, the family declined interviews Thursday.

    Police said Duncan and Christopher Payne, 30, were attempting to connect rail cars when the accident occurred. Duncan was giving Payne, who was backing up the rail car, the distance between the cars over a radio, according to a Cleburne police report.

    Duncan told Payne that he was within two car lengths, but Payne never heard a “one” count. When Payne began to slow the rail car, he heard Duncan screaming over the radio, the police report said.

    Duncan was the first to call 911 for assistance, but Payne called for help several times when police had trouble finding Duncan.

    Police and fire officials spent 10 minutes trying to locate him, Scarbrough said.

    At first, the injury appeared so severe that officials were unsure about whether they could free Duncan from the train without amputating his legs,...
    -07-02-2006, 10:18 PM
  • San Diego Ram
    Police officer, who delayed Texans' Moats as relative died, placed on leave
    by San Diego Ram
    DALLAS -- A police officer was placed on administrative leave Thursday after pulling over an NFL player who was rushing to see his dying mother-in-law, drawing his gun, threatening the player with jail and holding him in the hospital parking lot as the woman died.
    Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle apologized to the family of Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats over the March 18 incident and announced that Officer Robert Powell would be on paid leave pending an internal investigation.
    When we at the command staff reviewed the tape, we were embarrassed, disappointed," Kunkle said. "It's hard to find the right word and still be professional in my role as the police chief. But the behavior was not appropriate."
    Police officials said Powell told his commanders he believed he was doing his job and that he drew his gun but didn't point it. Kunkle said Powell wasn't necessarily acting improperly when he pulled out his weapon, but that once he realized what was happening, he should have put the gun back, apologized and offered to help the family in any way.
    "His behavior, in my opinion, did not exhibit the common sense, the discretion, the compassion that we expect our officers to exhibit," Kunkle said.
    Moats' wife, who was in the car along with other relatives, said Powell pointed his weapon at her.
    "He was pointing a gun at me as soon as I got out of the car," Tamishia Moats told The Dallas Morning News.
    The Moats family didn't immediately return messages left by The Associated Press. Powell didn't respond to requests for comment through the Dallas police union.
    Powell, a three-year member of the Dallas police force, stopped Moats outside Baylor Regional Medical Center after Moats rolled his sport-utility vehicle through a red light. Video from a dashboard camera inside the officer's vehicle, obtained by Dallas-Fort Worth station WFAA-TV, revealed an intense exchange in which Powell threatened to jail Moats.
    Powell ordered Tamishia Moats to get back in the SUV, but after pausing for a few seconds, she and another woman rushed into the hospital. Tamishia Moats was by the side of her mother, 45-year-old Jonetta Collinsworth, when she died a short time later from breast cancer.
    "Get in there," said Powell, yelling at 27-year-old Tamishia Moats, as she exited the vehicle. "Let me see your hands!"
    "Excuse me, my mom is dying," Tamishia Moats said. "Do you understand?"
    Ryan Moats explained that he waited until there was no traffic before proceeding through the red light. When Powell asked for proof of insurance, Moats grew more agitated and told the officer to go find it.
    "My mother-in-law is dying! Right now! You're wasting my time!" Moats yelled. "I don't understand why you can't understand that."
    As he argued with Moats, the officer grew irritated. "Shut your mouth,"...
    -03-26-2009, 11:26 PM
  • Goldenfleece
    Steroids dealer found dead at North Texas home
    by Goldenfleece
    Steroids dealer found dead at North Texas home

    By SCHUYLER DIXON, Associated Press Writer

    PLANO, Texas (AP)—A convicted steroids dealer who recently met with NFL security officials and gave them names of players he said bought steroids from him was found shot to death in his home Thursday, police said.

    Early Thursday morning, Plano police made a welfare check and found 35-year-old David Jacobs and 30-year-old Amanda Jo Earhart-Savell dead. Police said both had been shot to death.

    Police spokesman Rick McDonald said the officers were making a welfare check after relatives of Earhart-Savell expressed concern about her whereabouts.

    Plano detectives aren’t releasing information about whether the deaths were a double homicide or a murder-suicide, whether a weapon was found near the bodies, or any other details, McDonald said.

    Jacobs was sentenced to three years probation and fined $25,000 on May 1 after pleading guilty last year in federal court in Dallas to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute anabolic steroids.

    Hank Hockeimer, Jacobs’ attorney, has told The Dallas Morning News that Jacobs then met with NFL security officials in the Dallas area on May 21 and gave them names of players he said bought steroids from him. Hockeimer didn’t immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press on Thursday.

    Hockeimer has declined to publicly say which players bought steroids from Jacobs. But Jacobs had publicly said he sold tens of thousands of dollars worth of performance-enhancing drugs to former Dallas Cowboys player Matt Lehr in 2006 and 2007. Lehr has also played for Tampa Bay and Atlanta.

    Lehr’s attorney, Paul Coggins, has said the player hasn’t used banned substances since he was suspended for four games during the 2006 season while playing for Atlanta, and has since passed NFL drug tests. The attorney has also said Jacobs’ allegations were retaliation because Lehr wouldn’t pay Jacobs’ legal fees.

    NFL spokesman Greg Aiello offered condolences to the families of Jacobs and Earhart-Savell and said the league was reviewing information provided by Jacobs in two interviews with security officials.

    “It is premature to comment on any specific player at this time,” Aiello said in a statement. “Anyone found to have violated our policies will be subject to discipline, including suspension.”

    Neighbors who were still gathered at the scene about 12 hours after officers arrived said they became aware of Jacobs through television news reports, but didn’t know him well. They said they didn’t see any suspicious activity or hear any gunshots.

    One neighbor who reached out to Jacobs after his guilty plea by asking him to warn children about the dangers of drugs said she didn’t believe police when they told her he was dead.

    “Knowing somebody died this...
    -06-05-2008, 10:52 PM
  • Bruce=GOAT
    Former heavyweight champ attempts comeback
    by Bruce=GOAT
    Former heavyweight champ attempts comeback
    February 20, 2007

    CHESTER, W.Va. (AP) -- Former WBO heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison is staging a comeback, saying Tuesday that a positive HIV test that ended his career more than a decade ago was inaccurate.

    "I'm negative and I've always been negative and that should be the end of it," Morrison said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

    The 38-year-old will face John Castle in a four-round fight Thursday at Mountaineer Racetrack and Gaming Resort.

    "The rug was yanked out from under my feet by a misdiagnosis," he said. "All I want to do is fight. ... It's unfinished business."

    State Athletic Commissioner Steve Allred said Tuesday he approved Morrison's participation in the fight after reviewing medical records and consulting with the Association of Boxing Commissions' medical review committee. Allred said confidentiality laws prevent him from discussing Morrison's medical history or the records he reviewed.

    West Virginia does not have mandatory blood testing for boxers.

    "I assure you that West Virginia is doing due diligence to make sure everyone who steps into the ring is healthy," Allred said.

    Morrison (46-3) and Castle (4-2) square off in one of seven bouts scheduled at Mountaineer.

    Morrison won the WBO title in 1993 by outpointing George Foreman. He lost it later that year. Morrison, who was featured in the movie "Rocky V," also served a couple of years in an Arkansas prison on drug and weapons charges.

    He announced he had human immunodeficiency virus in February 1996 and last fought in Japan that November, knocking out Marcus Rhode in the first round.

    Morrison said Tuesday that he has taken several HIV tests while preparing for his comeback and all have been negative.

    He has signed a contract with Top Rank promoters for at least eight fights this year.

    "I have no doubt I'll be a better fighter than I ever was before," he said. "I am more relaxed. Something that comes along with age causes you to simmer a bit."
    -02-20-2007, 10:56 PM