According to reports, Ward was polite to his arresting officers, was allowed to drive himself to the police station, had a passenger who hadn't been drinking and claimed he'd only had two drinks. He failed a field sobriety test before refusing a breathalyzer test, which equals an automatic booking.
Can't imagine how the reigning Dancing With The Stars champion could fail a field sobriety test if he wasn't actually intoxicated, but that's the claim.
Jason Kirk (July 10, 2011)
That’s a fair question, and all the facts are not known, so I can’t give a complete answer, but I am able to offer a reasonable surmise, the gist of which boils down to this: it depends on the type of field sobriety test he was administered.
Frankly, some of these tests are tough to do, even when you’re sober. Hines Ward is a Super Bowl MVP and dancing champion, so it’s hard to believe he couldn’t do any of the walking-a-straight-line/balancing-on-one-leg tricks, but have you ever tried reciting the alphabet backwards or starting with 100 and continuing to subtract seven continuously? These are not simple tasks, particularly in a tense situation at 2:30 in the morning. That’s not to say I know for sure that Ward wasn’t impaired, just that Ward’s reported failure to pass a field sobriety test---note the reported number: a field sobriety test, singular---isn’t proof that he was.
You know what does suggest his lack of impairment? The fact that he drove while there was someone in the car who hadn’t been drinking, who presumably could have driven if Ward had had too much to drink. The fact that his booking on a misdemeanor charge appears to have been automatic, due to his refusal to take a breathalyzer test, rather than due to the actual circumstances surrounding his case. Oh, also, the fact that the police allowed him to drive the damned car to the station!
I don’t do criminal defense work, so this isn’t an informed legal opinion or anything, but it seems to me that, if the cops let you drive your own car after arresting you for DUI, either they didn’t think you were drunk or they’re some damned incompetent cops.
Ward’s initial offense, by the way, was failing to maintain his lane and hitting a curb in his Aston Martin. (That’s right, he was driving a James Bond car. Even when getting arrested for DUI, Hines Ward is just cool.) He acknowledged on Facebook on Friday that he has a problem with "texting, tweeting, or facebook while driving." (That’s right, Hines Ward uses the Oxford comma. Whether he should’ve written "facebooking" instead of "facebook" is a separate conversation.)
Once again, we don’t know all the facts, but, at this point, the surrounding circumstances suggest to me---an admittedly biased observer---that Hines Ward, while doing something he shouldn’t have been doing, did not drive under the influence of alcohol. I know not what course others may take, but, as for me and my house, we will believe Hines Ward is innocent until and unless he is proven guilty.
I still don’t rule out throwing a virgin into a volcano, just to be on the safe side, though.