Jay Ratliff charged with DWI

  • Calvin Watkins [ARCHIVE]
  • ESPNDallas.com | January 23, 2013

MOBILE, Ala. -- Dallas Cowboys starting nose tackle Jay Ratliff was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated in the early morning hours Tuesday after he crashed his 2011 Ford pickup truck into an 18-wheeler.

Ratliff and the driver of the tractor-trailer were not injured, according to Grapevine, Texas, police senior officer Sam Shemwell.

Jay Ratliff
Courtesy of Grapevine Police DepartmentJay Ratliff was arrested Tuesday and charged with DWI after he crashed his 2011 Ford pickup truck into an 18-wheeler.

Police arrived at the 2800 block of East State Highway 114 at 12:36 a.m. to investigate a crash. Upon an investigation of the incident, police arrested Ratliff on suspicion of DWI, Shemwell said.

Ratliff was bonded out of a Grapevine jail on Tuesday morning. A search warrant for Ratliff's blood was issued at 2:55 a.m. local time, more than two hours after the accident occurred. It will take at least 10 days for the Grapevine police department to get the results of his blood-alcohol test.

According to a crash report, Ratliff was traveling in the middle lane, slightly ahead of of the semi, before moving into the right lane and colliding with the 18-wheeler. Ratliff's truck was then "turned sideways and struck a median protector ... and came to a stop," the report says.

According to the probable cause affidavit written by arresting officer Eric Barch, Ratliff was "verbally abusive several times" after being transported to the Grapevine jail. Ratliff had been "cooperative and courteous" at the scene of the accident, Barch wrote.

Ratliff, according to the affidavit, showed a total of 12 clues of intoxication while taking three field sobriety tests. Ratliff, who underwent season-ending surgery to repair a sports hernia on Dec. 13, complained after his arrest about prior injuries that could have affected his ability to perform two of the field sobriety tests, Barch wrote. The officer stated in his report that Ratliff did not have any difficulty moving around the crash scene.

Ratliff told the officer that he had been "chillin' with a homegirl" in Arlington, Texas, and was en route to his home in Southlake. Barch wrote that Ratliff had a "moderate odor" of alcohol on his breath and had bloodshot, watery eyes.

Cowboys officials, in Mobile, Ala., watching practices for Saturday's Senior Bowl, declined comment. Ratliff's agent, Mark Slough, also declined to comment.

Ratliff, who was not available for comment, played in just six games in 2012 because of injuries. The arrest comes less than two months after backup nose tackle Josh Brent was charged with involuntary manslaughter resulting in the death of friend and Cowboys practice squad player Jerry Brown.

The Cowboys provide a service that can take players home safely. Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said he knew the service was used several times.

Ratliff, coincidentally, has a close relationship to Brent.

Brent was tested after a crash Dec. 8, and it was determined he had a blood-alcohol content more than twice the legal limit at the time.

Brent was indicted on one count of intoxication manslaughter and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. He also could receive probation. Brent is free on $100,000 bond and is required to wear an alcohol monitor.

Ratliff is considered one of the more passionate players on the team. During the season, he got into a heated argument with Jones in which both men needed to be separated.

Jones was asked about Ratliff's status with the team Tuesday afternoon.

"As far as I'm concerned, he is outstanding, he has given everything he's ever had to the Dallas Cowboys," Jones said. "With me, any of that emotion that was involved between us is only reflected back on many times that we've had in our own way some emotional time with each other. And it in no way before was ever contentious.

"So when you've got the kind of background we've got together, then if you have a moment that you might not have been on the same page, that's like father-son, that's like family, that's like all that. That's forgotten when you know each other has your best interests at heart. We both know that."

Any NFL player that is arrested is subject to the NFL conduct policy, which could result in a fine or a suspension.

ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon contributed to this report.

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