Cowboys' Ratliff had high blood alcohol level at time of crash

DALLAS Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:23pm EST

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DALLAS (Reuters) - Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff had a blood alcohol level of twice the legal limit when his pickup truck hit an 18-wheeler truck on January 22, a police report said on Monday.

Ratliff, 31, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving at the scene of the crash. He was released from the Grapevine, Texas municipal jail last Tuesday afternoon on $500 bail.

Police in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Grapevine said Monday that Ratliff's blood-alcohol level was .16, double the legal limit in Texas of .08.

Ratliff was the second Dallas Cowboys player to be arrested in an alcohol-related crash within a little more than a month. Josh Brent, also a nose tackle, was indicted by a Dallas County grand jury on one count of intoxication manslaughter on December 28, in a December 8 crash in Irving that killed his friend and practice squad member Jerry Brown Jr.

Brent had started for the Cowboys this season because Ratliff was sidelined by injuries.

Grapevine Senior Police Officer Sam Shemwell said Ratliff didn't initially appear drunk after his Ford F-150 struck the 18-wheeler about 12:30 a.m. on Texas Highway 114 near the entrance to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. But he failed a field sobriety test. He declined a breath test at the jail so a blood sample was drawn for testing.

Neither Ratliff nor J.R. Wilson, the driver of the 18-wheeler, was injured. Wilson called 911 and reported that the pickup truck had flipped over, according to the 911 recording.

The blood alcohol report has been sent to the Tarrant County district's office in Fort Worth, Shemwell said.

Dallas Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple declined to comment on the case.

A first offense of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) carries a punishment of up to six months in jail.

(Reporting by Marice Richter; Editing by Greg McCune and Nick Zieminski)

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