HAMBURG, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is scheduled to stand trial for reckless endangerment and other charges nearly a year after he crashed his car into a tree during an alleged race with a teammate.
Dareus, 25, arrived at Hamburg Town Court on Tuesday for a scheduled hearing but, after sitting in the front row for a few minutes, left with his attorney before the judge took the bench.
Dareus did not speak with reporters.
Attorney Michael Caffery said later that a trial date of May 19 had been set after he rejected a prosecution offer for Dareus to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving. Under the proposed agreement, all other charges would have been dropped.
“I do not want my client to plead guilty to a crime,” Caffery said by phone. “I would not recommend it based on the facts of this case.”
Dareus, the Bills’ first-round draft pick in 2011, was charged with reckless endangerment, reckless driving, participating in an illegal speed contest, leaving the scene of a property-damage accident, failure to keep right, speeding and making an unsafe lane change after crashing his 2012 Jaguar into a tree near a busy intersection during an alleged race with teammate Jerry Hughes not far from Ralph Wilson Stadium on May 30.
Hughes was not charged.
The accident came four weeks after Dareus was arrested for possession of synthetic marijuana following a traffic stop in his native Alabama. He agreed to enter an NFL substance abuse program to resolve those charges.
Caffery turned down a similar offer to plead guilty to reckless driving early on, and said Tuesday he was still talking with the Erie County District Attorney’s office about resolving the case without a trial.
District Attorney Frank Sedita was not immediately available to comment after Tuesday’s hearing.
The two sides are due back in Hamburg Town Court for a procedural hearing March 12.
Despite Dareus’ legal troubles during the offseason, he recorded 10 sacks during the regular NFL season and was sent to the Pro Bowl.
(Photo Source: AP)