Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office filed charges Tuesday against University of Illinois sophomore and varsity basketball guard Jamar Smith following the University of Illinois Police Department’s investigation of a February 12 accident that critically injured teammate Brian Carlwell.
Charges include one count of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, a class 4 felony, and one count of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, a class 3 felony.
The police investigation reported Smith was drinking tequila and beer with Carlwell and others before they left in Smith’s 1996 Lexus and headed north on First Street at 11 p.m.
Smith’s blood alcohol was reported to be .176, more than two times the legal limit. Prosecutors will seek to prove that he drove intoxicated, lost control of his vehicle, crossed the center lane and hit a tree on the passenger side, then left the scene without reporting the accident.
Smith, 19, drove the damaged vehicle back to College Fields Apartments on South First Street in Savoy, where two witnesses saw “a tall man” exit the Lexus and enter an apartment building. The witnesses also saw an unconscious passenger in the vehicle. Only witnesses dialed 911 to report the accident.
Sheriff’s deputies and University Police arrived on the scene and found Carlwell unconscious in the vehicle. Smith, who originally believed Carlwell had died in the crash, was found in his apartment with a number of other basketball team members and taken to Carle Foundation Hospital at 1 a.m.
The accident is still under investigation and drug test results are still pending.
An aggravated DUI charge is punishable by one to 12 years in the Department of Corrections, which is a greater offense than a regular misdeameanor DUI, because personal injury occurred. A charge of leaving the scene, which is punishable by two to five years in prison, results from Smith’s failure to report the accident within one half hour of the crash.
Smith has not been suspended from the basketball team but will not play the rest of the season.
Bond is set at $10,000. No court date has been set.