The Minnesota Vikings have found themselves busy this season, not with an overwhelmingly positive win record, but contending with the off-field troubles of some players. The latest incident occurred when linebacker Erin Henderson was arrested earlier this month for DWI and having a controlled substance in possession.
The trouble for Henderson began a little after 3 in the morning when the 27-year-old was pulled over by an Eden Prairie Police officer on suspicion of drunk driving. The arrest took place at Fredrick-Miller Spring, located on Spring Road in Eden Prairie. Officials with the local police department say a test found that Henderson had a blood alcohol level of 0.11 percent, well in excess of the state’s 0.08 legal limit.
Henderson was ultimately arrested, booked and released by the department. Though Henderson has apologized to the Vikings and his teammates for the negative publicity surrounding the event, he has also filed a lawsuit against the state. In his suit, Henderson is arguing that he should be allowed to keep his driver’s license and maintain his driving privileges.
Henderson’s suit claims that he never committed any traffic violation that justified the Eden Prairie officer’s decision to pull him over. Henderson says that without probable cause to conduct the investigatory stop, the results of any blood alcohol test should be tossed out.
Probable cause exists in cases where there is a reasonable belief that a person has committed a crime. In this case, that means that the officer believes that the driver of a car was operating the vehicle under the influence. If a police officer observed a motorist swerving or driving erratically then that might serve as a basis to conduct a traffic stop.
In order to ask a driver to take a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer test, the officer must first have probable cause to believe that the motorist was under the influence of alcohol. The sight of open containers of alcohol, smells, bloodshot eyes or slurred speech can establish this probable cause.
Minnesota State Patrol subsequently released information in Henderson’s case showing that this was not the first time Henderson had been suspected of drinking and driving. Back in August of this year, Henderson was stopped on I-394 after troopers saw him swerving in his lane of traffic. At the time he was issued a warning and sent on his way.
The bigger problem for the Vikings is the sheer number of players caught up in legal issues. Henderson’s arrest for DWI is third arrest of a Vikings player in as many weeks. A.J. Jefferson was arrested the week before for domestic assault and ultimately let go from the team. Before that, Jerome Simpson was also arrested for DWI.
Source: Article at Minnesota.CBSLocal.com.