Lawyer working on plea deal for Steelers' Ta'amu

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PITTSBURGH —

The attorney for Pittsburgh Steelers lineman Alameda Ta’amu told Channel 11’s Alan Jennings Friday that they are working on a plea deal to resolve charges stemming from a police chase and crash on the city’s South Side last year.

Ta’amu was in court Friday for a pre-trial hearing when his lawyer told Jennings that he will be negotiating with the district attorney’s office on a deal.

Ta'amu, who was arrested in October on charges of leading police on a chase while driving drunk on East Carson Street and crashing into parked cars, injuring at least two people, was the team's fourth-round pick in this past year's NFL Draft.

The criminal complaint said police spotted a 2006 Lincoln Navigator going the wrong way on Fort Pitt Boulevard when the driver then crossed the Smithfield Street Bridge and ran a red light as he turned onto East Carson Street.

Police said the driver then crossed into opposing traffic, driving on the wrong side of the street for seven blocks, to pass several cars at a time on East Carson Street.

The criminal complaint said one officer dressed in full uniform yelled, "Police! Stop the vehicle." That officer then said the driver, later identified as Ta'amu, swerved toward him and nearly ran him over.

Two other officers said they also spotted the car and drew their guns as the Navigator came at them, but neither of them fired "due to the large number of pedestrians and motorists on the sidewalks and roadway."

Police say Ta'amu took a sharp turn off of East Carson Street and onto South 14th Street. There, he allegedly hit four cars as police chased him.

Police said the chase took another turn when Ta'amu hit a fifth car, totaling both vehicles.

Police said they ran toward him, and officers said Ta'amu then sprinted away from the car. Investigators said he took off his blue shirt to avoid being recognized.

When police caught up to him, they told him to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back.

According to the criminal complaint, one officer was concerned that Ta'amu was reaching for his waistband, so he punched him in the face. Police said they eventually got Ta'amu, who refused medical treatment, into handcuffs and took him to jail.

Arresting officers said Ta'amu's breath smelled like alcohol, his speech was slurred and his eyes were bloodshot. Police said Ta'amu agreed to take a blood alcohol test, and he registered a blood alcohol content of .196 percent, more than twice the legal limit to drive. 

Ta’amu’s non-jury trial is scheduled for April 4.

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