Prosecutor explains why Sheldon Richardson wasn't charged for drugs, child endangerment

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The prosecuting attorney from St. Charles County in Missouri, which is handling the Sheldon Richardson case, shed some additional light on the matter Friday morning in a phone conversation with ESPN.com.

This will answer some of the questions that emerged late Thursday, when news of the July 14 arrest first broke.

Even though police sought a felony charge for child endangerment, the prosecutor's office -- after a two-week investigation -- decided not to charge Richardson because "we didn't think there was enough evidence to support that beyond a reasonable doubt," prosecuting attorney Tim Lohmar said.

"You might think, 'He was driving 143 mph with a child in the back seat; isn't that enough?'" Lohmar said. "There has to be some sort of intent on the part of the actor, causing immediate danger to the child. We looked at it closely, but we felt there wasn't enough."

Officials didn't reveal the identity of the child, but it's believed it may have been a relative of Richardson. In such cases, authorities sometimes find it difficult to prosecute because there can be a lack of cooperation from the child's family.

Lohmar said there were no drug-related charges because police found no marijuana in the car.

"We're pretty darn sure we know what was going on there," he said. "It reeked of marijuana ... but without the [marijuana] itself, you don't have enough evidence to support drug charges."

There was "nothing illegal whatsoever" in regard to the handgun, according to Lohmar. Guns are legal in Missouri, and Richardson possessed it in the proper manner, he said.

A few other details: Richardson's car was towed and he was transported to the police station, where he was arrested, booked and released, all within an hour.

Richardson, already facing a four-game ban for violating the league's substance abuse policy, figures to receive additional discipline for what could be a violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy. The league is reviewing the matter.

"All relevant information will be taken into account," league spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email.