Arkansas State Police release narrative report on Petrino accident

Arkansas State Police release narrative report on Petrino accident

The state trooper assigned to protect Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino said he took a call from an unidentified woman to come get the injured coach, then fielded a call from the coach's wife as they were pulling into the hospital, according to a memo released Monday.

From the Arkansas State Police Department

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The state trooper often assigned to protect Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino said he took a call from an unidentified woman to come get the injured coach and then fielded a call from the coach's wife as they were pulling into the hospital, according to a memo released Monday.

Arkansas State Police Capt. Lance King also said he called Petrino shortly before the police report that landed him in hot water was released to the public on Thursday.

Petrino called athletic director Jeff Long about 20 minutes after receiving that phone call, and he was put on paid leave later that night. Petrino, a married 51-year-old father of four, initially failed to disclose he had been riding with a female football program employee half his age when his motorcycle skidded off the road on April 1.

The Arkansas State Police said King didn't violate police policy or state law.

King said he called Petrino on April 1 to check on him after another trooper said Petrino's motorcycle had been involved in an accident.

"This message said, I don't even know if this is your number anymore, but your motorcycle has been involved in an accident and I wanted to call and check on you," King said in the memo, which was dated April 6 and sent to his superiors.

Two or three minutes later, King said, an unidentified female called him back and said Petrino had been in an accident. She said Petrino was headed to the emergency room, but asked King if he could meet them in a parking lot and take Petrino to the hospital.

"I was then called again by the female caller who asked me where I was and I told her that I saw their car in a parking lot and I was seconds away," King said.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the woman was Jessica Dorrell, the 25-year-old female employee who was riding with Petrino, or someone else. When asked about the woman's identity, Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said he stood by King's statement.

"All I know is he stated it was an unknown female," Sadler said.

In the memo, King said he pulled up and saw a woman helping Petrino out of the vehicle. King then helped Petrino into his car and put his seatbelt on.

King said Petrino didn't smell like alcohol and there wasn't any sign he had been drinking.

"He was covered with scrapes and cuts, and had blood and had swelling around his face and head," King wrote. "He was complaining of neck trouble. He was hardly able to speak, only groaning."

They drove to the hospital, and Petrino's phone rang as King was pulling up to the door.

"He told me that it was Becky (Mrs. Petrino) calling," King wrote. "He handed the phone to me and I told her that Coach Petrino had been involved in a motorcycle wreck and was injured."

The medical staff took Petrino inside and his wife soon joined him.

At some point, King went home for supper, but returned to the hospital after an athletic trainer said Petrino was asking about him.

"He barely opened his eyes, then thanked me for taking him to the hospital and then fell back to sleep," King wrote.

Petrino's wife asked King who transported her husband to the hospital. King said he didn't know, but that he had given one of them his cellphone number and that they should call him the next day.

"She asked me to get their names so she could thank them for their help," King wrote.

The day after the crash, Petrino called King.

"Coach Petrino asked if passenger information was required, and I said that all we need to know is the passenger's name and address," King wrote.

King said he didn't ask the passenger's name and Petrino didn't ask him to keep her name off the report.

He checked with his supervisor and called to check in on Petrino the next day. King said he asked about Petrino's health and let him know the report would be released in several days.

On Thursday, King called Petrino about 2:50 p.m. to let him know the report would be released. Long, the school's athletic director, said Petrino called him about 3:12 p.m. Long announced later that night that he put Petrino on paid leave as he looks into what happened.

Petrino admitted to a "previous inappropriate relationship" in a statement last week. On Monday, a person familiar with the investigation confirmed that relationship was with Dorrell, the former Arkansas volleyball player with whom Petrino was riding with during his motorcycle crash on a rural two-land road southeast of Fayetteville.

The Arkansas State Police said King began working sideline assignments during the 2003 season to provide security for the Razorback football team and coach. During the past two seasons, he has worked pre-game and game-day assignments with the coach.

He said he has had a professional relationship with Petrino and hadn't met with him or his family socially.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


The following is a narrative report from Arkansas State Police Captain Lance King:


"On Sunday, April 1, 2012, I spent the entire afternoon with my wife working in our yard.

At approximately 6:15 P.M, I left my residence to go to Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, located at Crossover and Mission Boulevard in Fayetteville, to pick up a jar of spaghetti sauce and a pound of lunch meat.

While at the Neighborhood Market, at approximately 6:30 P.M, I was contacted on my cell phone by Troop L Sergeant Gabe Weaver who informed me of a motorcycle accident on Arkansas State Highway 16 in Madison County in the community of Crosses. I believe that Sergeant Weaver contacted me with his cell phone.

Sergeant Weaver stated that the rider of the motorcycle had departed the scene in a private vehicle en route to the hospital. Sergeant Weaver said that Troop L Dispatch took the license number of the motorcycle from a witness and ran an ownership check on this license which returned to Arkansas Football Coach Bobby Petrino.

I then called Coach Petrino’s phone from my cell phone and left him a message. This message said, I don’t even know if this is your number anymore, but your motorcycle has been involved in an accident and I wanted to call and check on you. I told him if he needed any assistance to give me a call back.

I was called back in approximately one to three minutes by an unidentified female.

This person said that Coach Petrino had been in a motorcycle accident and was hurt and was headed to the emergency room. This person asked if I could meet them at the parking lot located at Crossover Road and Highway 16 in order to take Coach Petrino to the hospital. This person told me that they were in Elkins and headed toward Fayetteville. This person also told me that they were driving a white Jeep Cherokee.

I told this person that I was headed that way from the intersection of Highways 45 and 265.

I then contacted my supervisor, ASP Highway Patrol Major Les Braunns, and informed him of this situation. He told me to keep him apprised and thoroughly investigate the accident. Major Braunns told me to make sure to conduct a thorough investigation and include all information concerning details of the accident. I told Major Braunns I would.

I was then called again by the female caller who asked me where I was and I told her that I saw their car in a parking lot and I was seconds away.

I pulled up on the parking lot approximately ten feet away from the white Cherokee and observed a white female helping Coach Petrino out of the passenger side rear of the car.

I assisted Coach Petrino into the front seat of my car and put a seat belt on him.

Coach Petrino had visible injuries. He was covered with scrapes and cuts and had blood and had swelling around his face and head. He was complaining of neck trouble. He was hardly able to speak, only groaning.

I then told Coach Petrino that I would get him to the Washington Regional Hospital emergency room as fast and safely as I could. Coach Petrino asked me if I thought he had broken his neck. I told Coach Petrino that he was breathing, not bleeding excessively and not paralyzed, so he was probably going to be all right.

Before departing the scene, I verbally provided my cell phone number to the white female who I think put it in her phone. I told her to call me tomorrow and I would have a trooper contact her for an interview. I was at this location approximately one minute.

This white female had blond hair and I think was dressed in jeans. She showed no sign of any injuries. I had never seen this person before in my life.

I pulled off the parking lot with my blue lights activated headed to Washington Regional Medical Center emergency room.

I drove quickly, but safely, north on Crossover Road. Again, I told Coach Petrino that we were headed to Washington Regional Hospital and he told me that was not where he needed to go. He said he wanted to go the Physicians Specialty Hospital. I told him that I had never heard of this hospital and he said that it was on Joyce Street. He said that Dr. Arnold worked at the hospital and was going to meet him there.

I asked Coach Petrino if he was sure that Doctor Arnold was going to meet him there and he said that he had called him prior to me picking him up.

I told Coach Petrino that he would have to give me directions to this hospital, which he did.

During this short (four to five mile) commute Coach Petrino did nothing but groan in pain for the entire ride. He said nothing about the accident except that a gust of wind blew him off the road. It was obvious that he was in a lot of pain. He kept saying that he thought he had broken his neck.

Upon arrival to the hospital, I pulled up to the door as Coach Petrino’s phone rang. He told me that it was Becky (Mrs. Petrino) calling. He handed the phone to me and I told her that Coach Petrino had been involved in a motorcycle wreck and was injured. I told her that he was at the Physicians Specialty emergency room. I told her that she needed to get down there.

The medical staff took Coach Petrino out of my car and took him into the hospital where they began treating him.

I then talked on the cell phone to Sergeant Gabe Weaver who had been waiting at Washington Regional Hospital. He arrived at my location in a few minutes.

Sergeant Weaver and I stood around talking until Mrs. Petrino and several family members arrived. The first to arrive was Mrs. Petrino, Nick Petrino, his son and Coach Paul Petrino’s wife (unknown name). I believe that Matt Summer, an athletic trainer, was already there. I talked to Matt about Coach Petrino complaining about possible neck injuries.

I was then contacted on my cell phone by Dr. Arnold. Dr. Arnold said that he was north bound at the Bobby Hopper Tunnel on I-540 and had been in Fort Smith at a little league game. I told him about Coach Petrino being in pain and about his injured neck. I told Dr. Arnold that I hope I didn’t cause any further injury by transporting Coach Petrino myself and not calling an ambulance. I told him that I felt that time was an issue and he said that he thought I had done the right thing.

After fifteen minutes or so, an X-ray person came out of the X-ray room and asked if I was Lance and I said yes. He said that Coach Petrino was very restless and asked if I along with Mrs. Petrino would stay in the room. He said that it would help him do his job better. I stayed in the room several minutes with Mrs. Petrino then exited. I do not remember speaking to Coach Petrino during this time.

After visiting with Sergeant Weaver a few more minutes, Sergeant Weaver asked me about where the Petrino’s wanted the motorcycle towed. I asked Mrs. Petrino and she asked if it could be towed to her home and that she had left the garage open. I left the hospital a short time later and traveled back to my home for supper.

At approximately 9:00 P.M, I was contacted by cell phone by Matt Summers. He said that Coach Petrino had asked about me and wished me to come by and see him if I could. I then left my residence and traveled to back to the hospital.

I walked back into the hospital room and Coach Petrino was lying in a bed with family members about. His face was very swollen, his eyes were shut and he was still covered with blood. He seemed to be going in and out of consciousness. He appeared to be under a heavy influence of pain medication. He barely opened his eyes, then thanked me for taking him to the hospital and then fell back to sleep. I was in the room with Mrs. Petrino for most of the time. I was in this room approximately three to four minutes. I also told him that a trooper would be coming by to ask him some questions about the accident. He asked if I would be with the trooper, and I told him if he wanted I could be. He asked me to please call first and I agreed. I left the hospital and traveled home where I remained until going to work the next morning.

Before leaving, Mrs. Petrino asked me who transported Coach Petrino to the hospital and I told her that I didn’t know, but I had given one of them my cell number and they should call me tomorrow. She asked me to get their names, so she could thank them for their help.

On 04/02/12, at approximately noon, I received a phone call from a man who identified himself as Benjamin Williams. Mr. Williams said that he was from Ozark, AR and he was one of the people who brought Coach Petrino to the hospital. He said that he had his wife drop him off en-route to Fayetteville at a store or restaurant because he couldn’t stand looking at Coach Petrino’s injuries. He also provided me the name of his girlfriend, Jody Diane Stewart, who was driving, and told me that that he hoped Coach Petrino and his lady friend were okay. I told him that someone would be contacting him and also said that the Petrino family wanted to know his name so they could do something nice for them. I said that maybe they will send him some razorback stuff and he said good, because he had a house full of kids. I did not ask him anything about the “lady friend” knowing th at an ASP trooper or investigator would be interviewing him soon. He also said that they did not know or recognize Coach Petrino due to his injuries. He said they were just trying to help a person out.

I then emailed Major Braunns and requested that he give me a call when he had a few minutes. I left the office to get an ASP fitness test physical from my doctor in Fayetteville.

While at the doctor’s office, I was called by Major Braunns. I informed him of Mr. William’s call and he said that we would get someone down there to interview him and the other occupants of the vehicle. I also told Major Braunns that a trooper was going by the hospital to interview Coach Petrino later that afternoon.

I then traveled back to my office and at approximately 3:00 P.M, I telephoned Coach Petrino and left a message that the investigating trooper would like to come by talk to him about the accident and he didn’t call me back.

Thinking that he might be in surgery or unable to speak on the phone, I contacted Arkansas Director of Football Mark Robinson and asked for Matt Summer’s cell phone number. Mark Robinson gave me Summer’s cell phone number and I called him.

I asked him if he was still with Coach Petrino at the hospital and he said that he was at the Broyles Complex. I asked him if he knew if Coach Petrino was being treated or in surgery because I could not reach him on the phone and he said that he didn’t know. We spoke a minute or so about injuries and he said that he really have any information about that and we terminated our phone conversation. I told him that I would contact Dr. Arnold and ask him and he told me that he thought Dr. Arnold was in surgery all day.

I then called Dr. Arnold’s cell phone to inquire about Coach Petrino’s availability. The phone was not answered and I left a message. At approximately 6:00 P.M, Dr. Arnold called me back and I think told me that he had been in surgery all day.

At approximately 3:30 to 4:00 PM, I was called by Coach Petrino on my cell phone. I asked him if he was going to be available for an interview with the investigating trooper. He asked what the trooper would need and I told him the trooper would need his driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance information. I told him the trooper would ask him specific questions about the accident such as direction of travel, what caused the crash and any passenger information. He asked if he could be interviewed the following day after he was released from the hospital. I said that would probably be fine and asked if 3:00 P.M. was all right. Coach Petrino said that football practice starts around 3:00 and could we talk to him after practice. I told him that I couldn’t believe based on his condition that he would be able to run a practice, and he said that he was going to ru n it from the press box. We spoke about his condition and terminated the phone call. Coach Petrino asked if passenger information was required and I said that all we need to know is the passenger’s name and address. I told him that we had been getting phone calls from people who had said there was a passenger on the rear of the motorcycle and if we didn’t get a name, the report would state unidentified white female. I didn’t ask him the name and he didn’t ask me to keep her name off the report. I knew he would be interviewed shortly.

I telephoned my supervisor, Major Braunns, and he advised me to allow the troopers to interview Coach Petrino without my presence, and I agreed.

I had no further contact with anyone involved the rest of the day and spent the evening with my wife at home.

On 04/03/12, at approximately 9:00 A.M, I was contacted by my supervisor, Major Les Braunns, who requested that I travel to Arkansas State Police Headquarters in Little Rock to brief the command staff on this crash.

I traveled to Arkansas State Police Headquarters and met with Colonel J.R. Howard, Lt. Colonel Tim K’Nuckles, Major Les Braunns and Lt. Steve Coppinger and briefed them on the investigation. During this meeting they played a recording of the 911 tape. This was the first time I heard it.

I then traveled back to my residence in Fayetteville.

On 04/03/12, at approximately 6:30 P.M, I was contacted by Sergeant Gabe Weaver who along with Trooper Josh Arnold had just left the Broyles Complex after an interview with Coach Petrino.

Sergeant Weaver told me that Coach Petrino cooperated with him and Trooper Arnold and provided them all the information that they requested. Sergeant Weaver said that Coach Petrino walked them down the hallway at the Broyles Complex and introduced them to the passenger, who was identified as Jessica Dorrell, who was also interviewed.

I then contacted Major Braunns and related this information. I also asked for permission to contact Coach Petrino to check on him and his injuries and he gave his approval.

At approximately 7:00 P.M, I called Coach Petrino’s cell phone and left him message to return my call.

At approximately 7:15 P.M, Coach Petrino called me back. I had a short conversation with him asking about his health, thanked him for treating the troopers so well and letting him know the report would be released in several days.

On Thursday, at approximately 2:50 P.M, I called Coach Petrino and let him know that the ASP accident report would be released later this afternoon. I have had no further contact with Coach Petrino.

I have friends employed at the University of Arkansas, including Chancellor Gearhart and his family. During the entire time period documented in this memorandum, with the exception of those previously mentioned, I was not contacted in any manner by anyone at the University of Arkansas, except Kevin Trainer, who emailed me and thanked me for hooking him up with ASP Media Specialist Bill Sadler.

In closing, at no time did I fail to provide information to my supervisor or involve myself in the accident investigation. I do not know Jessica Dorrell and I have never met her. Coach Petrino and I did not discuss any passenger information during transport to the hospital or otherwise. I have a professional relationship with Coach Petrino and have never met with him or his family socially. At no time was there any indication that Coach Petrino had been drinking or was intoxicated. He did not smell of alcoholic beverages."
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