The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

October 14, 2012

Steelers rookie accused of DUI, assault in chase

PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh Steelers rookie defensive lineman was arrested early Sunday on charges of leading police on a chase while driving drunk and crashing into parked cars, injuring a woman, authorities said.

Alameda Ta'amu, 22, of Kent, Wash., was driving a sport utility vehicle the wrong way on Pittsburgh's South Side at about 2:30 a.m., police said. The 6-foot-3, 348-pound Ta'amu fled officers and crashed into four parked cars, injuring a woman, then tried to flee on foot before he was restrained by four officers and arrested, police said.

Charges against him include felony fleeing police, aggravated assault and aggravated assault by vehicle, as well as misdemeanor accident causing damage, resisting arrest, escape and DUI charges, along with summary counts, according to court records.

"We are disappointed to hear about the situation regarding Alameda Ta'amu," Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement. "We will gather more facts before providing any further comment."

According to the criminal complaint, an off-duty detective called police to say the SUV was swerving across double yellow lines and passing several vehicles at a time, running red lights and speeding in an area that had many pedestrians. Several police officers ordered the driver to stop but he refused, causing them to dive out of the way to avoid being run over, authorities alleged.

The SUV then crashed into a parked vehicle, injuring the driver, who was treated at UPMC Mercy and later released, police said. After crashing into several other cars, the vehicle was disabled, and Ta'amu then fled on foot, taking off his shirt in what authorities say was an attempt to evade the pursuing officers.

Finally, the officers caught up to him in a parking lot and ordered him to the ground, but he resisted being handcuffed and appeared to be reaching toward his waistband, which the officers feared was an attempt to draw a weapon, so one officer punched him twice, police said. Ta'amu was then handcuffed and transported in a police wagon "due to (his) extremely large size," authorities said.

Police said in the criminal complaint that the defendant's breath smelled of alcohol and a breath test indicated a blood-alcohol content of .196 percent, more than twice the legal limit of .08 percent.

Ta'amu was drafted in the fourth round out of Washington. He has yet to play this season.

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