PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Steelers rookie nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu apologized after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing on charges stemming from an alleged drunken-driving rampage.
The 22-year-old fourth-round draft pick was arrested last month after police said he crashed into several other cars, then ran away from officers on the city's South Side, a neighborhood known for bars and night clubs.
After his brief appearance Thursday in Pittsburgh Municipal Court, Ta'amu told reporters, "If there was any other word I would say it, but 'sorry' is the only word I can say right now."
Ta'amu, of Kent, Wash., was driving an SUV the wrong way at about 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 14 when he fled from officers and crashed into four parked cars, injuring a woman, police said. He then tried to run away before he was restrained by four officers and arrested, authorities said.
He'll be formally arraigned Dec. 31 on felony charges of aggravated assault by vehicle and fleeing and eluding police, as well as misdemeanor charges including resisting arrest, escape and DUI. By waiving the hearing, Ta'amu acknowledged there was enough evidence for him to stand trial, although he could seek to resolve them through a plea bargain.
Three charges of felony aggravated assault — all for allegedly fighting with police — were withdrawn, but 18 other felony, misdemeanor and summary citations are now headed to Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.
Defense attorney Robert Del Greco said Ta'amu is trying to negotiate financial settlements to pay for the damage and injuries he caused.
"He is contrite. He has accepted responsibility and is in counseling" for alcoholism, Del Greco told reporters.
Police have said that a breath test showed Ta'amu's blood-alcohol content was 0.196 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
The Steelers suspended him for two games immediately after his arrest. He's back on the roster, though he has yet to play this season.