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Moss arrested for hitting officer with car

Posted: Tuesday September 24, 2002 7:54 PM
  Randy Moss Randy Moss is shown in this Hennepin County Sheriff's booking mug taken Tuesday evening. AP

By Don Banks, Sports Illustrated

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss was arrested Tuesday evening by Minneapolis police for assaulting a downtown traffic control agent with his car and remains in custody, a spokeswoman for the Minneapolis Police Department said.

The MPD's traffic control agent -- a city employee who is not a police officer -- was not seriously hurt in the 5:45 p.m. CST incident, said Cyndi Barrington, public information officer for the MPD.

Barrington confirmed that Moss disobeyed an order from the agent and eventually pushed her down the street about 1/2 block using his car. In attempting to stop Moss' car from making an illegal turn, the agent was pushed off her feet by his maroon 2002 Lexus. At that point, Moss stopped his car as the agent called police for assistance.

Moss was booked into jail for assault in the second degree, which is considered assault with a dangerous weapon, Barrington said. He has not been charged as of yet. Moss could be held in custody for up to 36 hours, Barrington said, if charged with a felony. However, a Hennepin County (Minn.) judge could set Moss' bail before that time.

On- and off-field trouble
  • Moss earned a full scholarship to Notre Dame in 1995 (his senior year of high school) before his involvement in a racially-motivated fight in which he kicked a white classmate on the ground. He was charged with two counts of battery. After spending three days in jail, Moss was allowed to defer the other 27 days until after his freshman year of college. He received a year's probation. Notre Dame declined his enrollment application.

  • Moss then went to Florida State. He was redshirted for the 1995 season but tested positive for marijuana the next spring and was dismissed from school.

  • In 1996, Moss and his girlfriend were both arrested after she was accused of attacking Moss' ex-girlfriend's car. Moss got into an argument and shoving match with Libby Offutt, now the mother of his two children. The two were charged with domestic battery, with the charges later dropped.

  • In 1999, frustrated late in a playoff loss at St. Louis, Moss squirted an official with a water bottle. He was fined $40,000 by the NFL, which was later reduced to $25,000. That incident followed a $10,000 fine for verbally abusing an official.

  • In 2000, the NFL fined Moss $25,000 for making contact with an official. He was later fined $30,000 for three taunting incidents and a preseason dress-code violation.

  • In November 2001, the Vikings fined Moss $15,000 for verbally abusing corporate sponsors on a team bus. 

    Barrington added that Moss' car has been impounded.

    Jerry Hullerman, 46, said he was parked near the intersection.

    "I saw a really decked-out Lexus pushing the traffic person along," Hullerman told The Associated Press, "It was really surreal."

    He said the agent was facing forward while sitting on the front of the car with one hand on the hood and the other hand on her radio as the car pushed her along.

    After a few seconds, Hullerman said "she fell flat on her face," adding that the driver didn't get out of his car.

    Hullerman said squad cars arrived seconds later and officers took Moss into custody.

    "Something clearly happened," Vikings executive vice president Michael Kelly said. "But we don't have all of the details yet.

    "All we know is that he's been arrested and reportedly bumped a police officer in his car."

    The Vikings also issued a statement Tuesday night. "The Vikings are aware of the situation concerning an incident between Moss and a Minneapolis traffic officer. We are gathering information and will comment after we have more facts."

    The Vikings were off on Tuesday, the league's traditional off day, but are scheduled to play at Seattle Sunday night.

    Contacted Tuesday evening, Moss' agent, Dante DiTrapano, said his attempts to reach Moss by cell phone have been unsuccessful.

    "I tried to call him to figure out what happened, but he's not answering his cell phone. I'm waiting for him to call me at this point."

    The Vikings are off to an 0-3 start, their worst since 1967, and Moss caught just four passes for 16 yards in Sunday's loss to Carolina. Moss' effort was called into question by quarterback Daunte Culpepper, who screamed at his gifted teammate after several instances where Moss seemed less than interested in going all-out to catch Culpepper's passes.

    "Daunte just wants to win, just like any guy in his profession," said Moss. "I think he's just frustrated that we're sitting right now at 0-3."

    Moss is in his fifth year with the Vikings and is the team's highest-paid player. He signed an eight-year, $75 million contract last year.

    He set an NFL record with 5,396 yards receiving in his first four seasons as a pro.

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    The Associated Press contributed to this report.