Former King Philip Regional High School standout Lofa Tatupu issued an apology to family and fans earlier this week after it became widely known that he had been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in the Seattle area over the previous weekend.
Tatupu, 25, the three-time Pro Bowl inside linebacker of the Seattle Seahawks, was stopped Saturday in the suburban community of Kirkland by police who had observed him driving erratically. Blood-alcohol tests later registered readings of 0.155 and 0.158, nearly twice the legal limit in the state of Washington.
Tatupu, the son of former Patriots' fullback and former King Philip football coach Mosi Tatupu, said in a prepared statement that he made a poor decision, and placed himself in a bad situation.
"I take seriously my role as a leader on this team, and in the community, and because of that I'm disappointed and embarrassed by the level of poor judgment I used last weekend," the statement read. "Thankfully, nobody was hurt. This will never happen again, and I hope through hard work on and off the field to begin earning your respect and trust again."
According to a story Wednesday in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that quoted the Kirkland Police Department's report, an officer estimated that Tatupu was driving at least 15 mph over the 35 mph speed limit in his 2006 Hyundai Accent and had made "several abrupt lane changes" before he was stopped just after 2 a.m. outside a McDonald's restaurant on Northeast 85th Street, in the suburb to the northeast of downtown Seattle.
The newspaper report said that the officer noted a "strong odor of intoxicants" emanating from the window when speaking with Tatupu, who had three passengers in his car. He reportedly struggled through the field sobriety tests and opted not to blow into a hand-held portable breath-testing device, telling the officer that he'd been driving fast because "one of his friends really had to go to the bathroom," the officer's report said.
Tatupu was arrested and taken to the Kirkland police station, where a breath test two hours later registered his blood-alcohol content at 0.155 and 0.158, or nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08, the newspaper report said. He was cited for drunken driving and released from the Kirkland municipal jail pending the filing of official charges.
While at the police station, the report said, Tatupu initially declined legal representation but changed his mind and was represented by a public defender.
The police report characterized Tatupu as "polite and cooperative throughout the process," according to a Seattle Times report.
In his three seasons with the Seahawks since being selected out of the University of Southern California in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft, Tatupu has been named to the Pro Bowl each year and has assumed a leadership role on the team.
In March, Tatupu signed a $42 million contract extension that could keep him with the Seahawks through 2015, as well as preventing him from becoming a free agent after the 2009 season. The deal included approximately $18 million in guaranteed money from 2008 to 2010. Tatupu is due $27 million from 2010-12.
Tatupu's arrest comes at a bad time for the Seahawks, in that it happened less than a month after teammate Rocky Bernard was charged with assaulting an ex-girlfriend at a downtown Seattle nightclub. Bernard is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing in June.
The Patriots will visit Tatupu's Seahawks in December.