San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was arrested Thursday night on suspicion of driving under the influence, vandalism and hit and run, police said.
Smith, 25, was released Friday on $26,000 bail.
Lt. Kurt Clarke of the Santa Clara Police Department said during a news conference Friday that Smith was drinking when he parked his SUV-type vehicle. When he exited his vehicle, his car door swung open and struck a smaller vehicle, causing about $500 worth in damage. Smith later left the scene, Clarke said. The owner of the damaged vehicle did not identify himself to police and walked away.
“I don’t know if he knew that person,” Clarke said.
About 8:50 p.m., police got called to the neighborhood. When officers arrived, Smith returned to the scene. The officers believed he was under the influence of alcohol, Clarke said. When Smith didn’t pass a sobriety test, he was arrested, Clarke said.
Smith is expected to appear in court on Oct. 6.
Outside a Santa Clara jail, Smith apologized for the incident and denied being under the influence.
“I want everybody to understand this wasn’t a DUI,” Smith told a Bay Area TV station, KTVU. “The situation that happened could have been handled differently. I apologize to everybody I did let down and I apologize for how it all played out.”
The 49ers released Smith later Friday morning.
“This organization has tried very hard to help Aldon fight his issues,” the 49ers said in a statement on their website. “Although he is no longer a member of this team, our support and concern for him will continue.”
49ers Coach Jim Tomsula said Smith had been working hard to improve his behavior.
“The guy is working really hard and he had a pitfall,” he said. “He has been turning his life around.
“Although he won’t be playing football for the San Francisco 49ers, he will be supported and helped, and he will not have to walk this path alone. That comes from the ownership down.”
This isn’t Smith’s first run-in with the law.
Smith was arrested in Miami Beach in 2012 on suspicion of DUI, but accepted a deal for a lesser charge. Smith was arrested in San Jose in September 2013 on suspicion of driving under the influence and possessing marijuana. Authorities said he was drunk, with a blood alcohol level that was twice the legal limit, when he crashed his car into a tree in San Jose.
In 2014, Smith pleaded no contest to three felony weapons charges and two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence. The weapons charges stem from a raucous party at Smith’s home in June 2012. Deputies were called to his house party, where he was stabbed and two other people were shot. He fired a handgun from a balcony to disperse the crowd, authorities said.
Deputies found assault rifles inside his home during the melee.
The DUI charges are linked to his San Jose arrest.
He was suspended nine games last season for violating the league’s policy on personal conduct and substance abuse. He was suspended five games in 2013 following the DUI arrest for which he voluntarily checked himself into a treatment facility.
Then in April 2014, Smith was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport after he was arguing with screening agent and was accused of making comments suggesting he had a bomb.
In the LAX incident, Los Angeles city prosecutors declined to file charges against Smith.
Times staff writer Dan Loumena contributed to this report.
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