Steelers rookie lineman Ta'amu waives preliminary hearing


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Steelers rookie Alameda Ta'amu waived his right to a preliminary hearing this morning on a string of charges stemming from allegations that he led police on a chase on the South Side and then brawled with arresting officers.

Mr. Ta'amu, 22, is charged with several felonies including aggravated assault, aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI and fleeing an officer. He is also charged with a misdemeanor for leaving the scene of an accident and misdemeanor escape and DUI.

Three charges of aggravated assault were withdrawn today.

Police said an officer spotted Mr. Ta'amu driving his SUV the wrong way on Fort Pitt Boulevard and then erratically on the South Side in the early hours of Oct. 14.

A uniformed off-duty officer who was working a security detail at a bar spotted him and attempted to stop him, but Mr. Ta'amu nearly ran him over and kept going, according to a criminal complaint.

Two other officers on foot again attempted to stop him, but dove out of the way when they feared he would hit them.

He struck several parked vehicles, injuring a woman who was sitting in her parked car, according to the complaint.

He jumped out of his SUV after crashing it and attempted to run from officers, according to the complaint. When officers caught up with him, he resisted and refused to put his hands behind his back until one officer punched him in the face, according to the complaint.

It took four officers and two sets of handcuffs to restrain the 6 foot 3, 348-pound lineman.

Blood tests showed he had a blood alcohol level of 0.196, more than double the legal limit, according to the complaint.

Mr. Ta'amu remains on the Steelers roster after facing a two-week suspension. At the courthouse today, his attorney Robert Del Greco said he is receiving counseling for alcoholism.

He had also been charged with driving under the influence in his home state of Washington while a sophomore in college. The charge was later reduced.

Following his hearing, the hulking Mr. Ta'amu, dressed in a pinstripe suit, said he was "sorry," both to those whose cars he struck and to the officers.

He appeared in court with his mother, who declined comment.

"I'm receiving help and trying to move forward," he said. "Sorry is the only word I can say."

Mr. Ta'amu is scheduled for a formal arraignment on Dec. 31.

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Moriah Balingit: mbalingit@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2533 and on Twitter @MoriahBee. First Published November 8, 2012 5:00 AM


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