Steelers' Ta'amu arrested after police chase
By Bill Zlatos
Published: Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, 10:28 a.m.
Pittsburgh police arrested Steelers rookie Alameda Ta'amu early Sunday on charges of drunken driving, fleeing police and leaving the scene of an accident.
Ta'amu, 22, of Kent, Wash., was driving a sport utility vehicle that hit several cars on 14th Street on the South Side and was arrested about 2:30 a.m. after a chase and a scuffle in which an officer punched him twice, according to Zone 3 police.
Police said Jennifer Kosko, who was in one of the vehicles he struck, was injured. She was treated in UPMC Mercy, Uptown, and released.
Ta'amu was taken to Allegheny County Jail. Police said they saw a 2006 Lincoln Navigator going the wrong way on Fort Pitt Boulevard early Sunday. The driver then crossed the Smithfield Street Bridge and ran a red light while turning onto East Carson Street. Police said the vehicle traveled in the wrong lane for seven blocks to pass several cars at a time on East Carson.
The Navigator hit five parked vehicles, including the one with Kosko. Police said Ta'amu eventually got out of his vehicle and sprinted away, shedding his outer shirt.
Four officers caught him. When they tried to handcuff him, Ta'amu ripped one of his arms away and appeared to reach toward his waistband, police said. Fearing he might have a weapon, one officer hit Ta'amu twice in the face with a closed fist, police said.
Ta'amu relented, and officers used two sets of handcuffs to restrain him. He declined medical treatment, police said.
Police reported that he had a strong odor of alcohol as well as bloodshot and glassy eyes. Officers had to support him while walking, they said.
His blood alcohol level was 0.196 percent, more than twice the legal limit, police said.
Police asked for a wagon to transport Ta'amu because of his size, 6-feet-2 and 328 pounds.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert released this statement: “We are disappointed to hear about the situation regarding Alameda Ta'amu. We will gather more facts before providing any further comment.”
Kosko, 22, of Plum said she was sitting in her 2004 Saturn Ion eating pizza with a friend when the SUV hit her car. She said her jaw is still sore, and her friend has a bruised knee.
“I'm just sort of angry it happened, no matter who it was,” Kosko said. “It's awful that people are out drunk driving. My friends and I always make sure that we have a designated driver when we go out, so it really upsets me when someone goes out driving like that.”
Ta'amu, a nose tackle, was drafted this year in the fourth round from the University of Washington.
NFL scouting experts generally regarded him as the best nose tackle available in the draft. Ta'amu signed a four-year contract but has not played in any of the Steelers' five regular-season games this year. Longtime starter Casey Hampton and backup Steve McLendon are ahead of him on the depth chart.
Ta'amu is of Samoan descent, as is star safety Troy Polamalu, and Polamalu called him after the draft to welcome him to the team. Ta'amu's father is a retired pastor. Ta'amu is the father of a 3-year-old daughter.
About 1 a.m. Sunday, he posted on his Twitter (@medataamu74) account: “Let my love adorn you.” At 2 a.m., he posted a single word: “Weak.” Other recent postings included photos of his family attending church and praying together.
Staff writer Alan Robinson contributed to this report.Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Expert: KO doesn’t mean ‘worst’ concussion for Pens’ Orpik
- Kovacevic: Enough of these Steelers already
- Aliquippa’s Henry picks West Virginia over Pitt
- Steelers WR Brown says ‘I thought I had it clean’ after wild, near-miss finish
- Penguins players are not out looking for fights
- Robinson: $500K proposal for August Wilson Center brought threats, vitriol
- Former Pirate Parker does not make Hall of Fame
- Feds say Castle Shannon businessman forged bridge bid documents
- Penguins’ Neal suspended five games for Marchand hit
- Keno, lottery privatization could be back before Pennsylvania Senate
- Greensburg man dies after multi-vehicle crash on Route 22