Sacto 9-1-1
July 30, 2010
CHP releases video of reckless driving by Sacramento Kings' star


By Bill Lindelof
blindelof@sacbee.com

The California Highway Patrol today released the video an officer shot from a CHP airplane of a car driven by Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans that led to the player's arrest.

An aerial video shows Evans, 20, speeding down Interstate 80.

High above the purple Mercedes S550 being driven by Evans shortly before 7 p.m. May 31, was a Highway Patrol flight officer in a CHP Cessna airplane.

The two officers in the airplane spotted Evans' vehicle traveling more than 100 mph while crossing lanes on westbound Interstate 80. The video shows his nine-mile trip down I-80 and his arrest.

The vehicle at times reached speeds of up to 130 mph and continued at high speeds for several miles while passing vehicles in Memorial Day weekend traffic.

"Westbound, west of Madison, they are at 120 or 130 now," an officer in the CHP airplane can be heard on the video.

It appears that another car was speeding along with Evans. An officer says on the video that the "two vehicles are racing." The CHP pilot eventually lost sight of the second car.

When Evans' vehicle was pulled over at a park in Sacramento's Robla neighborhood, CHP officers approached with guns drawn and ordered Evans and his passengers out of the car. The vehicle's windows were tinted, and officers could not see inside.

"So far the driver is complying," said an officer in the airplane.

On July 23, Evans pleaded no contest to reckless driving.

CHP officer Adrian Quintero said Friday that Evans put himself and others in danger.

"You can see him passing vehicles that are traveling anywhere from 65 to 80 mph like they are standing still," said Quintero.

Evans was eventually cited and released. He signed a few autographs and left, said Quintero.

Quintero said the CHP didn't seek street racing charges against Evans because of evidence problems.

"The reason we went with reckless driving is because it is easier to prove," he said.

"Obviously they were both traveling at excessive speed but because we didn't have concrete evidence that they looked at each and said: 'Let's go,' it would have been a lot harder case to prove versus reckless driving."

The aircraft could not keep track of both drivers. Without knowing who the other driver was, it is difficult to a "speed contest."

If the CHP had both drivers "we would have to separate them, ask them questions and see if there was some type of communication or they knew each other."

Evans was ordered to serve three years' informal probation and 80 hours of alternative sentencing, Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully said in a written announcement. His driver's license also was suspended for 30 days, and he was ordered to participate in two California Highway Patrol Start Smart Driving programs, educational programs targeting teenage drivers.

Evans, who won the 2009-10 NBA Rookie of the Year award, apologized the day after the incident, saying he didn't realize how fast the car was traveling.

"I felt like I wasn't going that fast but I was, " Evans told a Bee reporter. "I've just got to be careful."

Deputy District Attorney Suzanne Salazar said that by participating in the CHP's program for young drivers as part of his sentence, Evans will be required to educate others about the dangers of reckless driving.

The Kings selected Evans fourth in the first round of the 2009 NBA draft.

Evans, who played college basketball at the University of Memphis, brought excitement to a struggling team with his outstanding performances on court.

He became the fourth first-year man in NBA history to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in a season, joining Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

Call The Bee's Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

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