Defensive end Reggie Rogers of the Detroit Lions was charged with three counts of involuntary manslaughter Friday for his part in a car accident in which three teen-agers were killed early Thursday morning.
L. Brooks Patterson, the Oakland County prosecutor, said he based the charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 15 years each, on “wanton and reckless behavior” by Rogers in causing the collision in Pontiac, Mich.
“He was intoxicated, driving at an excessive rate of speed and ran a red light,” Patterson said. “That kind of conduct which endangers the lives of others is basically what you look for in involuntary manslaughter.”
Patterson did not disclose the results of Rogers’ blood alcohol test but said his alcohol level was above the legal limit.
Rogers reportedly struck a smaller vehicle broadside at a major intersection. Brothers Kelley Ess, 18, and Dale Robert Ess, 17, of Versailles, Mo., were dead at the scene. They were passengers in a car driven by their cousin, Kenneth James Willet, 19, of Drayton Plains, Mich., who died later.
According to Dr. Robert Aranosian, head of the emergency unit at Pontiac Osteopathic hospital, Rogers suffered two broken vertebrae and a nearly severed right thumb. Aranosian said Rogers is expected to be hospitalized “a couple of weeks, at least.”
Rogers is the brother of Don Rogers, the Cleveland Browns defensive back who died of a drug overdose in Sacramento in 1986.