Car Hairston driving when pulled belongs to friend
RALEIGH (AP) — When a state trooper gave North Carolina leading scorer P.J. Hairston his third recent traffic citation Sunday the athlete was driving a car owned by a female friend.
The reckless driving charge, quickly followed by Hairston’s indefinite suspension from the team, marked the latest off-court misstep for the UNC-Chapel Hill basketball player. Hairston had been cited twice in the span of a month while driving late model cars linked to a convicted felon. Authorities dropped one set of those charges last week.
The Associated Press confirmed Monday through state records that the gray 2008 Acura that Hairston was driving Sunday belongs to Randi Lee Furr, a Charlotte woman whose social media posts indicate she is close friends with the junior guard.
A state trooper reported Hairston was driving 93 miles per hour on Interstate 85 near Salisbury in a 65-mile-per-hour zone. The trooper’s citation said Hairston was weaving in and out of heavy traffic. Once stopped, Hairston told the trooper he was “in a hurry to get to Charlotte,” according to the citation.
Hairston, who is from Greensboro, previously was cited for speeding in a 2012 Camaro on May 13. The vehicle was rented under the name of a woman who shared the home address of Haydn Patrick “Fats” Thomas of Durham. Thomas faces pending drug charges as well as a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon from a December arrest.
Thomas’ name also appears on rental records for the 2013 GMC Yukon that Hairston was driving on June 5 when he was arrested by Durham police and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving without a license. Prosecutors dismissed the June charges after Hairston produced proof he had a driver’s license and had completed a drug assessment program.
Hairston’s use of vehicles provided by others could be of interest the NCAA, which closely regulates benefits on monetary value college athletes can receive. UNC officials have been in frequent contact with the NCAA for much of the past three years following the start of an investigation into improper benefits and academic misconduct that led to sanctions against the football program in 2012.
Hairston averaged about 15 points per game for the Tar Heels last season and elected in April to return to the team rather than entering the NBA draft.
Two weeks ago, North Carolina coach Roy Williams said Hairston would face “serious consequences” over the Durham arrest, though he hadn’t yet determined a punishment. At that time, Williams said he was considering several possible punishments, including suspension, but said then that he would wait “until the process is complete” to decide.
Hairston is due in court Aug. 30 on his latest charge in Rowan County.
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