Weekly lineup

 Tuesday, February 22
Williams refuses to sign traffic ticket
Associated Press

 AUSTIN, Texas -- Ricky Williams, the 1998 Heisman Trophy-winning running back for the University of Texas, was arrested and taken to jail Monday night for failing to sign a traffic ticket, authorities said Tuesday.

Tom Vinger, spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said troopers pulled Williams' over in his 1999 Hummer about 9:24 p.m.

A trooper reported that Williams swerved from the far right lane to the far left lane without signally, disrupting traffic on the three-lane street near downtown Austin, Vinger said.

When the trooper pulled over the car, Williams "was upset. He was not particularly cooperative," Vinger said.

The New Orleans Saints running back refused to sign the ticket, a misdemeanor charge for failing to signal a lane change that carried a maximum $200 fine, he said. Vinger said the signature is a promise that he would later contact the court about the ticket. The trooper arrested Williams and took him to the Travis County Jail to personally face a judge.

The police department initially said Williams had been jailed for about six hours, but Sgt. John Estrada later said Williams was booked in at 9:40 p.m. and released at 11:41 p.m. Monday.

Williams' mother told the Dallas Morning News that her son called her on a cell phone from his vehicle after he was pulled over outside of his apartment in downtown Austin.

Sandy Williams told the newspaper her son said a police car trailed him for about one mile from the time he left the UT library to his apartment and that officers seemed to be looking for a reason to pull him over.

"I heard the whole thing," Williams' mother said. "The officer said something about him not signaling while changing lanes and that he was getting a ticket. Ricky said, 'Hell no. Not again. Not now.' I told him not to say anything and to sign the ticket. But they told him to get out of the car, and then they took him to jail."

Williams was a rookie with the Saints this past season but returned to UT for classes this semester.

Joe Jamail, a Houston attorney who represents Williams, said he got little information from police regarding the traffic stop.

"It is absolutely terrible judgment," Jamail told the newspaper. "They (police) know who he is and where he lives. They don't take you to jail for refusing to sign a ticket. I'm incensed about it."

Sandy Williams said she kept her son on the phone because of police questions.

"Ricky just said, 'I don't want to go to jail again,' " she said. "He stepped out of the car, laid the phone down and after a few minutes, they turned the car off, and I could hear them say, 'Get his wallet, he'll need that.' That's when I flew down to the police station."

She said he was returning to UT classes Tuesday.

Saints coach Jim Haslett said Tuesday afternoon that he told Williams he should have just signed the ticket and let the process work.

"He knows he was wrong and I told him he was wrong," Haslett said. "Ricky needs to grow up some and I told him that today, but he's going to be a heck of a football player. He really is."

Williams was pulled over by UT police on Labor Day weekend in 1997 for failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Then, he was jailed by an officer who said Williams failed to properly identify himself, but charges were later dropped.