Cowboys tackle Josh Brent jailed after fatal car crash

IRVING -- Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Price Brent was identified by police as the driver in a single-car accident early Saturday that killed Jerry Brown, a teammate both with the Cowboys and at the University of Illinois.

Brent was arrested on suspicion of intoxication manslaughter at 4:30 a.m. and booked into the Irving Jail. An Irving judge set his bond at $500,000 Sunday morning.

An Irving police spokesman confirmed that the fatal accident occurred at 2:21 a.m. in the 1400 block of the north service road of Texas 114.

"We are deeply saddened by the news of this accident and the passing of Jerry Brown," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.

"At this time, our hearts and prayers and deepest sympathies are with the members of Jerry's family and all of those who knew him and loved him."

As police officers arrived on the scene, they saw Brent dragging Brown from his 2007 Mercedes-Benz, which was on fire, a department spokesman said at an afternoon news conference.

Irving police said Brent, 24, was driving at high speed when his car hit the outside curb and flipped at least once before coming to rest in the middle of the service road.

When approached by officers, Brent was responsive and able to speak. But Brown, 25, was unresponsive. He was taken to a hospital and later pronounced dead.

Based on a field sobriety test, Brent was arrested on suspicion of DWI. He was taken to a hospital for a mandatory blood draw and was booked on one count of intoxication manslaughter.

Results of the blood test will likely take weeks, the police said.

Police spokesman John Argumaniz said Brent, who is being held without bail, missed a 10 a.m. Saturday booking session with a judge because he was intoxicated.

Argumaniz said he didn't know whether Brent had an attorney.

KTVT/Channel 11 reported that Brent and Brown had been at Privae, a Dallas club where comedian Shawn Wayans performed.

Every team in the National Football League has access to the NFL Players Association's Safe Rides program. Players can call a cab or a driver to pick them up when they have been drinking.

Peter Schaffer, Brent's agent, issued a statement from the player: "I am devastated and filled with grief for the loss of my close friend and teammate, Jerry Brown. I am also grief-stricken for his family, friends and all who were blessed enough to have known him. I will live with this horrific and tragic loss every day for the rest of my life. My prayers are with his family, our teammates and his friends at this time."

A native of Bloomington, Ill., Brent was arrested in February 2009 for DWI and was suspended indefinitely from the Illinois football team during his sophomore season. Brent pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, two years' probation, 200 hours of community service and a fine of about $2,000, The Associated Press said. It quoted court records as saying he completed his probation in July 2011.

Brent returned to the team for his junior season.

The Cowboys drafted him in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Supplemental Draft. The team created a roster spot Saturday morning before departing for today's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. They signed defensive tackle Robert Callaway from the practice squad and put cornerback Orlando Scandrick on injured reserve.

Brent, who has started in four games in place of the injured Jay Ratliff, has 35 tackles, 11/2 sacks and one forced fumble. His forced fumble against Philadelphia last week was returned 50 yards by rookie Morris Claiborne to seal the Cowboys' 38-33 win over the Eagles.

It's the second time in a decade that an active Cowboys player was involved in a traffic fatality.

Cornerback Dwayne Goodrich was the driver in a hit-and-run crash that killed two people in 2003. Goodrich was convicted of two counts of criminally negligent homicide and served eight years in prison before being released in 2011.

Brown, a linebacker, was signed to the practice squad Oct. 24.

A native of St. Louis, he played previously with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League as well as the San Antonio Talons and Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena Football League before signing with Indianapolis in May.

He was active for one game with the Colts before being released and signing with the Cowboys. Brown and Brent were roommates in Dallas.

Ron Zook, the former Illinois coach, said Brent was trying to help Brown make it in the NFL.

"It was Jerry's dream, and Josh was trying to help him any way he could," Zook said.

The Cowboys did not make any players or coaches available to the media upon their arrival in Cincinnati on Saturday evening. Team spokesman Rich Dalrymple described the flight as somber.

Dalrymple said the club wanted to allow the players time to grieve along with coach Jason Garrett. They will speak to the media after today's game against the Bengals.

Team psychologist Jacqualene Stephens made the trip to handle any grief counseling. Dalrymple said the Cowboys might bring in more counselors when they return to Dallas.

Staff writer Susan McFarland contributed to this report.

Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760

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