ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Attorney: He Will Plead Not Guilty
On Saturday night, Dairese Gary delivered the pre-dinner prayer at the annual Coaches Vs. Cancer Gala, hosted by University of New Mexico basketball coach Steve Alford and athletic director Paul Krebs.
On Sunday morning, Gary was behind bars — the second member of the 2010-2011 Lobo basketball team to be arrested for DWI after crashing his car in the past week.
“I don’t have any comments right now,” Gary, who is slated to graduate this month, told the Journal on Monday.
Gary deferred comment to his lawyer, Robert Cooper, who said, “We have seen the criminal complaints, but I haven’t seen the police reports. Those are two different documents.
“ … We are going to enter a not guilty plea, and eventually get a hold of the police reports, conduct our investigation and see where this takes us.”
Gary was arrested on charges of aggravated DWI and reckless driving after police say he crashed into standing mailboxes outside a northeast Albuquerque apartment complex on Sunday morning.
Gary, one of the most respected players in Lobo basketball history, recently completed his UNM career by being named first-team All-Mountain West Conference for the second straight season, and was honored as the team’s most valuable player at the Lobo banquet last month.
According to the Albuquerque police report, an officer arrived at the scene in the 4400 block of Shepard NE around 7:30 a.m. and saw that a Chevy Malibu had gone over a parking block, hitting and breaking several mailboxes. The officer found Gary, 22, in the driver’s seat with the engine running. Gary was “displaying obvious signs of intoxication,” including bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech, and he smelled strongly of alcohol, the report states.
Gary told the officer he’d had a “few drinks” and was headed home. He performed “extremely poor” during field sobriety tests, according to the report. A subsequent breath test measured his blood-alcohol content at .16 — twice the presumed level of intoxication for a driver in New Mexico.
The caller who reported the accident said the driver was seen stumbling after exiting the vehicle and had tried to back the car out of the mailboxes, the report says.
Gary was arrested and booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center. He was released on his own recognizance at 2:15 p.m. Sunday, according to MDC.
Gary’s arrest comes a week after Lobo sophomore Chad Adams was arrested for DWI, after a May 1 accident at north-bound Pan American at Comanche. Adams goes to court next Monday.
Early Monday evening, Alford released a statement that said “I am obviously very disappointed by the news of a charge on a former player for drinking and driving. This mistake is not indicative of what our program has been about for the past four years.
“A part of being a Lobo basketball player is understanding the responsibilities that come with wearing the cherry and silver New Mexico jersey. As a program, we will give him our support in helping understand the consequences of his decisions, and we will use this as an opportunity to not only educate our team about the dangers of drinking and driving, but our community as well.”
Cooper said, “Dairese is innocent until proven guilty, as is any citizen who faces this sort of a charge. And we’re going to enter a non-guilty plea, and then vigorously defend him and his right to maintain that non-guilty plea until the government can prove, if ever they can prove him, guilty beyond reasonable doubt.”
Gary had become the face of Lobo basketball the past four years, starting in 130 consecutive games despite numerous injuries. He had also been the team’s leader, on and off the court, and was recently honored by the school for having the team’s highest grade point average.
The 6-foot-2 point guard’s career was cut a couple of games short when he tore the ACL in his right knee in New Mexico’s loss to BYU in the semifinals of the MWC tournament semifinals. He did not play in either of the team’s two games in the National Invitation Tournament.
On Saturday night, Gary delivered the pre-dinner prayer at the fund-raising event at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa.
The hosts for the $150-per-person banquet were Krebs and Alford and their wives.
In July 2009, Gary, then 20, pleaded guilty after being cited for being a minor in possession of alcohol, according to court records. He was fined $77.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal
Photo Credit – journal file
Cutline – GARY: Faces aggravated DWI charge