Staten is charged with DWI Ravens safety's vehicle collides with another on Liberty Road

Other driver hurt, charged

Two Ravens rookies also were involved

September 12, 1998|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Gary Lambrecht contributed to this article.

Ravens reserve safety Ralph Staten, 25, was charged with drunken driving after his vehicle collided with another in Baltimore County early yesterday morning and is not expected to play in tomorrow's game against the New York Jets.

The driver of the other car, Danielle Monroe of Parkville, also was charged with drunken driving and was hurt in the accident, according to Baltimore County police.

Monroe, 27, was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Unit and had surgery on her hip and pelvic area, according to a Ravens official. A spokesperson for the hospital said Monroe was in stable condition.

Two other Ravens were involved in the accident -- rookie defensive tackle Larry Fitzpatrick, who is on the practice squad, and rookie defensive end Kareem Robinson, who is on injured reserve.

None of the three players was injured in the accident, which occurred at 3: 09 a.m. yesterday. Fitzpatrick was a passenger in Staten's car and Robinson was riding with Monroe. All four had been out for the evening.

According to documents filed in Catonsville District Court, Staten registered a .17 on a breath test. The state's limit for driving while intoxicated is a blood alcohol level of .10 percent. Staten also failed three different sobriety tests.

"We got into an accident, and there was a little partying," said Staten, a second-year player. "It should have never happened, and I've got to be more responsible. I am sorry and I feel compassion for her and her family. I don't want to get into who was at fault. It was a mistake to get behind the wheel."

Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda said that league commissioner Paul Tagliabue is likely to investigate the incident immediately, and that Staten could have violated the league's substance and alcohol abuse policy.

Marchibroda might suspend Staten for tomorrow's game in East Rutherford, N.J., against the Jets, and all signs point to his not playing.

"Your most immediate thought is that you hope no one got hurt," said Marchibroda. "Under the circumstances, we're fortunate because it could have been a lot worse. There is a lot to be learned from this situation, and you have to be responsible."

Last year the Ravens had another player, then-rookie defensive tackle Leland Taylor, who was seriously injured in an automobile accident.

Taylor, who suffered a broken right leg, multiple fractures and ligament damage in his right foot, passed sobriety tests after the accident on Nov. 24 and was not charged in the accident.

Staten never lost control of his 1995 Ford Explorer.

Patrolman Gerald J. Orndoff said Staten appeared sleepy, was swaying and staggering, but calm and cooperative.

"Well, being a man, I felt I had control, that I could get behind the wheel," said Staten, who is 6 feet 3 and 205 pounds. "But that really doesn't make you any bigger. I didn't count the number of drinks, maybe I had one or two. Things happen so quick, there is a quick turn here and a quick turn there.

"I've talked to my teammates and they said they would support me," he said. "I'm hopeful that everything will turn out all right, that I can put this behind me and move on with my life."

By midafternoon yesterday, Staten was practicing with the team.

Robinson left the facility early yesterday after meeting with team vice-president Ozzie Newsome. Fitzpatrick quickly disappeared out of the locker room after practice.

Staten had missed most of the practices this week because of a pulled left hamstring muscle. Yesterday he did not practice with the kickoff, kickoff return and punt return special teams although he had been a regular on them through the preseason and first game.

Staten was replaced by linebacker Tyrell Peters in the Ravens' nickel coverage.

"Every week is always a big week, but this is a bigger week," said Peters, signed by the Ravens as a free agent on Aug. 25 last year after being originally signed by the Seattle Seahawks as a rookie free agent. "They have told me I will get a lot of playing time. The key to playing the position is to know your assignments and tendencies from different formations."

Peters was waived by the Ravens on Oct. 14 last season and then signed to the practice squad before he was signed to the active roster again on Dec. 19. He was one of five rookie linebackers -- the others being Peter Boulware, Jamie Sharper, Tyrus McCloud and Cornell Brown -- to see action for the Ravens in 1997.

Staten started for the injured Stevon Moore at strong safety in three preseason games and had two tackles, one knocked-down pass and one interception last Sunday against the Steelers. Staten had 30 tackles last season for the Ravens. He was a seventh-round pick by the Ravens in 1997 even though he was rated one of the best linebackers in college football at Alabama.

Staten's stock dropped in the draft because he was suspended for spring practice in 1996 by then Alabama coach Gene Stallings for undisclosed reasons.

"You've got to be smart," said Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis. "You're at the point where you're a professional, and you've got to know how to carry yourself."

Pub Date: 9/12/98

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