FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Former NFL star Deltha O’Neal has been charged with felony drunken driving in connection with an August high-speed crash that seriously injured him and a passenger, Florida court records show.
O’Neal, 42, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.16 after the Aug. 7 crash that left the former Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals cornerback with a concussion, broken ankle and internal injuries, according to a Palm Beach County arrest affidavit made public this week. That blood-alcohol level is twice the legal limit for driving in Florida.
According to the affidavit, O’Neal was driving his black 2009 Mercedes-Benz on a surface street at high speeds when he lost control and struck a curb, causing the car to fly into a utility pole and split in two. Passenger Joseph Babcock suffered a broken thighbone and internal injuries.
O’Neal told investigators five days after the crash he did not remember who was driving and that he had drunk an unspecified amount of beer at a bar that night.
Babcock told investigators that O’Neal suddenly sped up to 100 mph (160 kph), causing him to curse at O’Neal and tell him to slow down shortly before they crashed. He said O’Neal drank beer and whiskey shots at the bar, but did not seem impaired when they got in the car. He is now suing O’Neal.
O’Neal’s attorney did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
O’Neal played nine years in the NFL from 2000 to 2008 after being a first-round pick of the Broncos out of Cal. He played four years each with Denver and Cincinnati before spending his final season with the New England Patriots. He had 34 interceptions during his career, returning three for touchdowns. He also returned two punts and a kickoff for touchdowns. He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2001 and 2005 and was a second-team Associated Press All-Pro player in 2005.
He is free pending arraignment Jan. 9.