<
>

No DUI charge for Huskers' Mike Caputo


Nebraska starting center Mike Caputo will be charged Thursday with reckless driving, according to court records, after being cited by police Dec. 11 in Lincoln, Neb.

Caputo was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence after a police officer found him sleeping in the driver's seat of a running vehicle. Court records show that Caputo instead will face the reduced charge of reckless driving.

Huskers coach Bo Pelini said Tuesday that he was nearing a decision on discipline for Caputo, who has been practicing with the team as it prepares to face South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 2.

"I have a pretty decent idea of what I'm going to do but I want to let things play out a little bit over the next couple of days so I have all the information needed to make the right decision," Pelini told reporters Tuesday.

Caputo has started every game the past two seasons and was a second-team All-Big Ten selection this year.

Authorities said his blood-alcohol level measured 0.103 percent after his arrest, above the state's legal limit of 0.08 percent for drivers.

Chief assistant city attorney John McQuinn wouldn't say why he's charging Caputo with reckless driving instead of DUI. He said Caputo is not getting preferential treatment because he's a Nebraska football player. His arraignment is scheduled for Thursday.

If found guilty of reckless driving, the senior from Omaha would be fined $100 and lose five points from his Nebraska driver's license. A loss of 12 points over a two-year period results in a license suspension.

"My expectation is he'll plead guilty and we'll have a resolution," defense attorney Terry Dougherty said.

McQuinn said he can't predict how the public will react to his decision on Caputo.

"The procedure and review and ultimate charging decision I made I have made in other cases and made with the same process -- and they've involved people who have absolutely nothing that would make them noteworthy or draw media attention to themselves," McQuinn said. "So each case is different and we review each case based on the case, not who the person is."

Under state law, it is illegal to operate or be in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"Having the vehicle moving isn't critical," McQuinn said.

McQuinn said blood-alcohol content is considered when he decides to file charges, but so are the circumstances that led up to the police contacting the individual. McQuinn wouldn't comment on the circumstances leading to Caputo's arrest. Lincoln police records show no prior arrests for Caputo.

McQuinn said he had discussions with Dougherty, who also represented Cook, before deciding on the charge.

"It's not uncommon for attorneys to want to take a look at different cases, generally with an eye toward seeing if there could be a different charge," he said.

Adam Rittenberg covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com. He can be reached at espnritt@gmail.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.