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Pitt coach Dixon suspends Zeigler after DUI charges

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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Trey Zeigler scores over Mount St. Mary's Kristijan Krajina during the second half Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 at Petersen Events Center.

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Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, 8:12 a.m.
 

Pitt junior swingman Trey Zeigler has been indefinitely suspended from the basketball team after being charged with drunken driving early Sunday.

City police said they found him passed out behind the wheel of his Hummer at the intersection of Craft Avenue and Boulevard of the Allies in Oakland shortly after 3 a.m.

Two misdemeanor driving under the influence charges will be mailed to Zeigler, who must appear in Pittsburgh Municipal Court for a preliminary hearing Feb. 5.

"The incident involving Trey Zeigler is not only surprising, but incredibly disappointing," coach Jamie Dixon said Monday afternoon in a statement. "Although I believe it was out of character for Trey, he has been immediately suspended until further notice. Trey has expressed his deep regret to me and understands and respects the importance of accountability for one's actions."

The 21-year-old shooting guard's legal name is Ernest Zeigler III. Zeigler has averaged 6.2 points for the Panthers this season after transferring from Central Michigan where his father was fired as Central Michigan's coach.

Pittsburgh police were called to the intersection after a cab driver reported seeing Zeigler passed out behind the wheel when he picked up a group of people about 2:50 a.m. He called police when he returned to the intersection about 15 minutes later and saw Zeigler still passed out in the vehicle, according to a criminal complaint.

Police identified Zeigler from his Michigan driver's license and said he failed field sobriety tests after they woke up Zeigler and had him checked out by paramedics.

Zeigler was handcuffed after a breath test showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.129 percent, more than the state's legal 0.08 percent limit for drivers. Zeigler also vomited in a police holding cell toilet before officers were able to contact his parents, who came and picked him up shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday, the complaint said.

It is routine for drunken driving suspects to be released to family members or other responsible parties.

"I want to apologize to my family, the University of Pittsburgh, my teammates and coaches and the entire Pittsburgh community," Zeigler said in the same statement provided by the university. "This is not indicative of the kind of person I am, nor the kind of person I want to be."

Zeigler's vehicle was towed and impounded, police said.

Zeigler was able to play for Pitt this season because the NCAA granted him a special transfer waiver in light of his father's firing in March.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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