WNBA Star Faces "Extreme DUI" Offense


On a day when Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi was expected to be named as a 2009 WNBA All-Star, Phoenix police have released blood tests that indicate she was driving her 2006 Land Rover with a blood alcohol content of over twice the legal limit in Arizona.

Taurasi’s blood draw tests showed she had a blood alcohol level of 0.17%, leading to three charges stemming from the July 2 incident when she was pulled over by police on Camelback Road in Phoenix.

Taurasi, 27 and at the peak of her game in Phoenix, has pleaded not guilty to the charges against her. According to the arresting report, Taurasi told the officer who arrested her that she had consumed a "few" drinks at a club and was driving to the Phoenician Hotel, also in Phoenix. Several vehicles of friends drove behind her, according to Michael Ferraresi of the Arizona Republic.

She was stopped at 2:30am after an officer observed Taurasi’s Land Rover drift outside traffic lines. The arresting officer also reports that Taurasi was travelling at approximately 55 mph in an area where the posted speed limit is 35 mph.

She pleaded not responsible for speeding according to court records. After officers administered field sobriety tests, Taurasi refused to take a breathalyzer test. Her blood was subsequently drawn in a Phoenix Police Mobil DUI.

Taurasi was cited several hours after a game in which she scored 22 points in a Phoenix Mercury Victory over the Seattle Storm. She was the leading vote getter for the WNBA All-Star Game, which will be played on July 25. She is due in court on July 22, and could face up to 30 days in jail.

The Phoenician Resort, which Taurasi reportedly gave as her destination, hosted the Seattle Storm players on the night of the incident. Taurasi told one reporter that she found the situation "embarrassing and unfortunate for my family and for our organization. Personally I'm going to have to do some things to make it straight."

Because Taurasi had a blood-alcohol level of more than twice the state’s legal limit, she faces an "extreme DUI" offense that carriers more stringent penalties than a lesser DUI offense.

Seattle Storm players are not saying whether or not they were with Taurasi at the time of her arrest.

"It's a pending investigation," said Seattle point guard Sue Bird, who played with Taurasi at Connecticut and has been seen socializing with the Mercury star in the past. "We all know the severity of it. It's a serious issue and I know it's one she's going to look at as a mistake for a very long time."

Sources: The Seattle Times, The Arizona Republic

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