| ||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
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
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
"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
Sandy Williams said she kept her son on the phone because of
"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
She said he was returning to UT
Saints coach Jim Haslett said Tuesday afternoon that he told
Williams he should have just signed the ticket and let the process
"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.