After leaving the roadway and slamming into a catch basin with the speeding vehicle he was driving, Austin Seferian-Jenkins was thrown forward and smashed the windshield with his face, requiring hospitalization at Harborview Saturday night, where he refused a blood-alcohol test while demanding to speak to an attorney that was unable to be found by Seattle police.
So reports Seattle police officer Eric Michl in his arrest record of the episode night at the of Ravenna City Park that has the University of Washington’s most prominent player in big trouble. The report was issued with his name obscured, but UW officials confirmed the ID.
A witness reported the car was traveled at a high rate of speed. After the single-car crash, the officer encountered Seferian Jenkins sitting on the curb. Because he “immediately noticed the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage, thick-tongued speech and red watery eyes all of which are consistent with someone who consumed a significant amount of alcohol,” plus an apparent head injury — Seferian Jenkins had a bloody nose and blood on his face and shirt — Michl wrote that he arrested him on suspicion of DUI, ordered an ambulance and had the vehicle towed.
Seferian-Jenkins arrived in a neck brace and on a gurney at Harborview, where he refused to submit to a blood test until speaking with his attorney. When the name he gave could not be found in a search of a state bar association directory, and he couldn’t supply a phone number, Michl, who described himself as having 28 years of experience in DUI law and procedures, contacted a public defender who spoke to Seferian-Jenkins on the officer’s cell phone after he left the room.
Michl wrote that he returned and explained the state implied consent law, which requires anyone holding a Washington driver’s license and under DUI suspicion to submit to a test or have the license automatically revoked for two years. Seferian-Jenkins again refused to agree to a test.
Michl pursued a search warrant for blood to a Seattle Municipal Court magistrate via squad car video camera, received the warrant by email, and served it to Seferian-Jenkins. He relented, a Harborview nurse drew the blood and he was released into custody of the hospital, which later released him.
Through a UW spokesman Sunday, football coach Steve Sarkisian released a statement saying Seferian-Jenkins “fell short” on his decisons and will be disciplined according to internal team policy.
The 6-foot-6, 266-pound sophomore from Fox Island and Gig Harbor High School already holds UW career records for in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns at a position, tight end, that has a strong legacy at Washington. Even though he played the last several games with a sprained ankle, he was UW’s most unmatchable talent for opposing defenses.
A second-team All-Pac-12 selection and a third-team All-America pick by several publications, Seferian-Jenkins was going to be a big factor in coach Steve Sarkisian’s planned makeover of the offense into a more up-tempo style that would exploit Seferian-Jenkins’ athletic advantages.
Well-spoken and thoughtful, Seferian-Jenkins has had no known issues with teammates, team rules or law violations. But while the legal case as always at this stage remains unproven, Sarkisian’s acknowledgement of bad decisions and pending punishment means he has learned enough facts through his own conversations to bring down a hammer regarding violations of team rules that need no lawyers or judges.
He doesn’t need more evidence than a windshield smashed with a face from the inside to say Seferian-Jenkins put himself and others in serious jeopardy. Nor can he be anything but aghast at the resistance and confusion he showed the arresting officer.
No one needs to get on a high horse about alcohol abuse on campuses to know it’s a problem without solutions. But when public mayhem happens to a player, especially a high-profile leader, Sarkisian needs to make a point with a constituency wider than those filling Husky Stadium.
“Sorry, coach,” won’t do it. A multi-game suspension would be a start.