MIAMI - Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworthtook full responsibility for killing a pedestrian while drivingdrunk in Florida and began serving a 30-day jail sentence Tuesdayafter he pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter.
Stallworth also reached a confidential financial settlement toavoid a potential lawsuit from the family of 59-year-old MarioReyes, according to Stallworth attorney Christopher Lyons. Reyeswas struck and killed March 14 by Stallworth, who was driving hisblack 2005 Bentley after a night drinking at a swanky hotel bar.
Stallworth, 28, told Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy thathe hopes to get involved in drunken driving education programs.
"I accept full responsibility for this horrible tragedy," saidStallworth, who was accompanied at the hearing by his parents,siblings and other supporters. "I will bear this burden for therest of my life."
Stallworth faced 15 years in prison. After his release fromjail, Stallworth must serve two years of house arrest and spendeight years on probation.
The NFL has said it will review the matter for possibledisciplinary action. Lyons said the plea agreement will allowStallworth to resume his football career.
Stallworth also must undergo drug and alcohol testing, will havea lifetime driver's license suspension and must perform 1,000 hoursof community service. Lyons said after five years, Stallworth couldwin approval for limited driving such as for employment.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle citedStallworth's lack of previous criminal record, cooperation withpolice and willingness to accept responsibility as factors in theplea deal. Rundle also said the Reyes family -- particularly thevictim's 15-year-old daughter -- wanted the case resolved to avoidany more pain.
"For all of these reasons, a just resolution of this case hasbeen reached," Rundle said.
None of the Reyes family attended the hearing. Their attorney,Rodolfo Suarez, read a statement saying the family wants to "bringclosure to this emotional and tragic event." Suarez was notimmediately available to comment after the hearing.
After a night drinking at a bar in Miami Beach's Fountainebleauhotel, police said Stallworth hit Reyes, a construction craneoperator who was rushing to catch a bus after finishing his shiftaround 7:15 a.m. Stallworth told police he flashed his lights in anattempt to warn Reyes, who was not in a crosswalk when he wasstruck.
Stallworth had a blood-alcohol level of .126 after the crash,well above Florida's .08 limit. Stallworth stopped after the crashand immediately told officers he had hit Reyes. Police estimatedStallworth was driving about 50 mph in a 40 mph zone.
Stallworth signed a seven-year, $35 million contract with theBrowns before last season but was injured much of the year. TheCalifornia native and University of Tennessee college star has alsoplayed in the NFL for New England, Philadelphia and New Orleans.
The night before the crash, Stallworth earned a $4.5 millionroster bonus from the Browns.
David Cornwell, a Stallworth attorney handling the NFLsituation, said he has kept top league officials apprised of thecase.
"Whenever it is appropriate to do so, we are prepared todiscuss the circumstances under which Donte' will resume hiscareer," Cornwell said.