UGA's Isaiah Crowell arrested on weapon charges

semerson@macon.comJune 29, 2012 

ATHENS - Georgia tailback Isaiah Crowell was jailed early on Friday morning on three weapons charges, including two felonies.

Crowell was arrested on charges of carrying a weapon in a school zone, and having an altered ID mark, both felonies. He was also booked on a misdemeanor charge of possessing/carrying a concealed weapon.

According to the police report, Crowell consented to a search after marijuana was smelled by officers. When a handgun was found beneath the driver's seat, Crowell denied that it was his or knowing it was there.

The arrest resulted from a vehicle checkpoint on East Campus Road and Greene Street on the UGA campus, around 2:20 a.m., according to Athens-Clarke County spokesman Hilda Sorrow. Crowell was booked at 3:37 a.m. and was released about nine hours later on $9,500 bond.

Crowell was the driver of the car, a 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis registered to his mother, which had four other occupants, all Georgia players: Fellow sophomore and Columbus Carver High product Quintavius Harrow, and incoming freshmen Sheldon Dawson, Blake Tibbs and Josh Harvey-Clemons. All of the passengers were searched, nothing was found, and they were eventually let go.

As he came through, an officer smelled an odor of marijuana. Crowell said they had just come from a club and "that is probably where the smell was from," according to the report. The police searched and no marijuana was found, but a handgun - a black Luger 9 mm - was found below the driver's seat. It had an altered serial number, according to the report.

According to the police report: "I placed Crowell under arrest. I read him Miranda and he said he wanted to talk. He said that other people drive his car. I asked, other people like those guys in there now, and he said no, other people. He denied knowing the gun was there."

Crowell also said he did not have a handgun permit. A background check showed that he had no prior criminal history.

While Harrow was being searched, an officer asked Crowell: "Why are you so nervous?" The report goes on to state that "the officers provided supplemental reports about the behavior and demeanor that Crowell displayed while I searched the vehicle." Those supplemental reports would not be available until later in the adjudication process.

The arrest triggers an immediate suspension from the team, according to the UGA student-athlete handbook. Football practice doesn't begin until early August. Crowell's status with the team will obviously be evaluated, although it's not clear how long that will take.

This is the latest, and clearly most serious, in a number of incidents to befall the star-crossed tailback from Columbus, who was named the SEC freshman of the year after the 2011 season.

Crowell finished last season with a team-leading 850 rushing yards, but wheezed to the finish, plagued by numerous injuries. He finished spring practice as basically a co-starter at tailback, along with sophomore Ken Malcome. Highly-regarded freshman Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley were brought in as competition as well.

Crowell was the most heralded member of the 2011 signing class, and had an immediate impact on the team. But he was suspended twice, once for a quarter for an unspecified team issue, and then for one game for a positive marijuana test, according to sources.

But Crowell (Carver High) had drawn raves from teammates and coaches since the end of last season for his improved work habits, and the player himself said he had matured.

Head coach Mark Richt was not immediately available for comment. UGA spokesman Claude Felton said UGA officials were aware of the rest, and would have more to say later.

Crowell's mother, Debbie, declined comment when reached.

The arrest is also the most serious for a Georgia football player in some time. There have been various misdemeanor arrests, most recently cornerback Branden Smith for marijuana possession. But this is the first felony arrest in several years.

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