Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuitama Enters Guilty DUI Plea, Given Probation

Former University of Arizona quarterback Willie Tuitama pleaded guilty Monday to misdemeanor driving under the influence and was placed on 12 months of unsupervised probation.

Tuitama was also ordered to pay a $1,500 fine, attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving impact panel and obtain an ignition interlock device for his car, said Tucson city prosecutor Laura Brynwood.

If Tuitama completes an alcohol evaluation and counseling program before Sept. 30, nine days of a 10-day jail term will be suspended, Brynwood said, adding Tuitama has already served the one day.

In exchange for his guilty plea, other counts against Tuitama were dismissed, including extreme DUI and a failure to stop at a red light.

Tuitama, 21, was pulled over in the area of North Campbell Avenue and East Hedrick Drive at 2:20 a.m. on March 6 after McDonald's employees near Campbell and East Fort Lowell Road flagged down a Tucson police sergeant about a suspected drunk driver at the drive-through.
Tuitama was cited and released, and his car was impounded.

Extreme DUI constitutes a blood-alcohol level above 0.15. The legal limit is 0.08.
Tuitama, a native of Stockton, Calif., was arrested two years ago on a charge of being a minor in possession of alcohol. He was 19 at the time.

In that incident, Tuitama admitted to drinking and driving before he was contacted by University of Arizona police. He handed over two bottles of alcohol, the Star reported, citing a police report.

He completed a diversion program and was not disciplined by the team.
Tuitama passed for a school-record 9,211 yards and 67 touchdowns during 3 1/2 seasons as the Wildcats' starter.

Tuitama was not selected in the NFL draft in April. He has moved home to Stockton for the summer, and his plans are unclear.

Tuitama did not return repeated voice and text messages from the Star on Tuesday.

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