Steelers' Ta'amu waives hearing
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Steelers rookie nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu waived his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday 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.
Ta'amu, 22, is charged with aggravated assault, aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI and fleeing an officer. He also is charged with leaving the scene of an accident, DUI and escape, all misdemeanors, in addition to several summary driving offenses. Prosecutors withdrew three charges of aggravated assault Thursday.
In a criminal complaint, police described Ta'amu's violent tear through the South Side in his Lincoln Navigator, nearly striking several officers who attempted to stop him in the early morning hours Oct. 14.
Police said an off-duty officer first spotted him driving the wrong way on Fort Pitt Boulevard and then heading over the Smithfield Bridge to the South Side. Three officers on foot attempted to stop him as he continued to drive erratically down East Carson Street, nearly striking them as they drew their guns and yelled for him to stop.
His SUV struck four parked vehicles, injuring a woman who was sitting in one of them, and finally crashed into a Honda Civic. He jumped out and started running away, stripping off his shirt. Officers caught up with him at 38 Uxor Way, where they attempted to cuff him.
He refused to put his arms behind his back and appeared to be reaching for his waistband, police said, so an officer punched him.
It took four officers and two sets of handcuffs to restrain the 6-foot-3, 348-pound defensive lineman, who had a blood alcohol level of 0.196, more than double the legal limit, according to the complaint.
After the hearing, Ta'amu, dressed in a pinstripe suit, said he was "sorry," to those whose cars he struck and the officers.
His attorney, Robert Del Greco, said he is receiving counseling for alcohol abuse.
"I'm receiving help and trying to move forward," he said. " 'Sorry' is the only word I can say."
Ta'amu was arrested for driving under the influence while attending the University of Washington for a December 2009 incident, but pleaded guilty to negligent driving.
First Published November 9, 2012 12:00 am