A lot of people finished off 2008 on a rocky run (Charles Barkley, anyone?), but few can compete with former Arkansas and Weathersford (Tex.) star running back Mark Pierce, who killed the driver of an oncoming car in a drunk driving accident and then ran from police on foot at the scene.
According to the FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, Pierce had reportedly stolen a Chevrolet Trailblazer from his family’s home in Weatherford on Tuesday morning, when he collided with a van driven by Lance Shelter in south Fort Worth. Pierce was then encountered with two options: try and help the victim at the scene or leave on foot. He chose the latter. (Shelter had died instantly in the crash.)
Unfortunately for Pierce, it’s not so easy to make good time while running from police when you’re very, very drunk. Fast as he is, he was still apprehended less than an hour after fleeing. He was arrested for “suspicion of intoxicated manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid”, and it doesn’t seem like a stretch to say he’ll end up guilty on both those counts.
Pierce is best known for his performance in a single game, scoring three touchdowns in Arkansas’s epic, seven-overtime win over Ole Miss in 2001. That game continues to be tied for the longest overtime bout in college football, and Pierce used it to slingshot to prominence and, at the end of the 2003 season, to declare for the NFL Draft.
While his athleticism might have been enough to land Pierce a decent draft slot, a bevy of off-field problems just like this accident kept him from being drafted. The blue ribbon winner among those personal struggles was a disorderly conduct charge that landed him a one-game suspension when he attacked a man outside a liquor store.
Looks like the hesitance of NFL teams was prescient, yet that does little to console the Shelter family. If anything can, it’s this: It doesn’t matter that Pierce is a former college football star, this guy is going to jail for a long, long time.