Crime

Former Cowboy Jay Ratliff gets probation in DWI plea

Jay Ratliff was a four time Pro Bowler with the Dallas Cowboys who now plays for the Chicago Bears.
Jay Ratliff was a four time Pro Bowler with the Dallas Cowboys who now plays for the Chicago Bears. Star-Telegram archives

Jeremiah “Jay” Ratliff, a former Dallas Cowboy who now plays for the Chicago Bears, pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated on Thursday and will serve one year on probation, according to the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.

Ratliff was also ordered to pay a $750 fine and must submit to sobriety tests anytime he is asked to by a law enforcement officer during traffic stops, according to the ruling from Bob McCoy, Tarrant County Criminal Court No. 3 judge.

Ratliff presented documentation to McCoy that he had been through a substance abuse evaluation, attended a DWI education course and a victim impact panel sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving and performed 20 hours community service for the YMCA.

Tarrant County prosecutors Richard Alpert and Nathan Martin presented the state’s case.

Ratliff had a blood-alcohol level 0.16, which is twice legal limit, when he was arrested on Jan. 22, 2013, on suspicion of DWI after a crash involving a tractor-trailer rig on Texas 114 in Grapevine, police have said.

Ratliff was released from jail after posting $500 bail on the misdemeanor offense. Neither Ratliff nor the driver of the big rig was hurt in the wreck.

The crash happened about 12:30 a.m. in westbound lanes in the 2800 block of Texas 114. Ratliff, who lives in Southlake, was driving a black 2011 Ford F-150 pickup when he attempted to change lanes.

A responding officer gave Ratliff a field sobriety test “and formed the opinion he was intoxicated,” Grapevine police have said.

Ratliff refused an on-scene breath test, so officers subsequently obtained a warrant to draw a blood sample, police said.

His arrest came six weeks after teammate Josh Brent drove drunk and crashed his car, killing Jerry Brown, another teammate. Brent was convicted of intoxication manslaughter and sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years’ probation, but returned to play for the Cowboys last season after serving a 10-game suspension.

Ratliff, a defensive nose tackle, was a four-time Pro Bowl player with the Cowboys but did not leave on good terms. He was released by the Cowboys in October 2013 after a stint on the physically unable to perform list, but signed with the Bears in November of that year.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752

Twitter: @mitchmitchel3

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