Terps' James Padgett pleads guilty to reckless driving charge, won't be suspended

The Baltimore Sun

After pleading guilty to a charge of reckless driving Friday afternoon in Prince George's County District Court, Maryland forward James Padgett will not be suspended by coach Mark Turgeon, an athletic department spokesman said.

Turgeon was not available to comment.

Padgett was arrested in College Park in June and charged with driving while impaired, but that was dropped amid "a number of issues", according to Padgett's attorney David Putzi. Among them was the amount of mouth alcohol in Padgett's system as a result of the player's acid reflux condition.

The breathalyzer initially aborted the first test administered to Padgett because of the mouth alcohol in Padgett's system because of the acid reflux. Putzi argued the police did not wait the prescribed 20 minutes to test Padgett again. He then registered an .07, which is just above the legal limit.

Putzi said Padgett admitted to have consumed some alcohol, but not enough to register above the legal limit.

"Because of the mouth alcohol, it could easily have been an .06," Putzi said. "This is a good lesson for anyone who thinks about drinking and driving."

Padgett, a senior from Brooklyn, N.Y. who has been selected a co-captain by his teammates, was sentenced to one year's unsupervised probation, 48 hours of community service to be completed within six months, a $259 fine and a mandatory appearance at a Mothers Against Drunk Driving impact panel.

Putzi said being able to plead guilty to the lesser charge and the sentence that resulted from it was a "huge relief" to Padgett, who has built a reputation as one of Turgeon's hardest-working players.

"He's a very nice young man, he's set to graduate in June," Putzi said. "He knew from the outset that he had made a mistake. He wanted to get this behind him."

Padgett is expected to be back at practice Saturday when the Terps hold a public scrimmage beginning at 1:30 p.m. at Comcast Center. He will also be available when Maryland opens the season at Brooklyn's new Barclays Center against defending national champion Kentucky.

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