Records: Steelers RB Bell admitted smoking pot before traffic stop but denied being high
A Steelers running back admitted to a Ross police officer during a traffic stop Wednesday that he smoked marijuana earlier in the day but denied being high, court records show.
“I smoked two hours ago. I am not high anymore. I am perfectly fine,” Le'Veon Bell, 22, told Ross motorcycle Officer Sean Stafiej, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday. “Why would I be getting high if I had to get on a plane to make it to my game?”
Asked what game he referred to, Bell told Stafiej that he played for the Steelers, who played a preseason game at the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.
Stafiej wrote in the complaint that he could smell marijuana from the open window of a black Camaro when he pulled alongside it on McKnight Road near Braunlich Road on Wednesday afternoon. He activated his lights and siren, and Bell, who was driving, pulled the car into the entrance of a parking lot by Pool City, police said.
Fellow running back LeGarrette Blount, 27, was in the front seat, and a female companion, Mercedes Dollson, 21, a model from California, was in the back seat, police said.
Stafiej wrote that Bell's eyes were red and glassy and his pupils were dilated but that he first denied having marijuana in the car. Bell told Stafiej that they smoked within the past two hours, the complaint said.
When a Ross K-9 officer arrived and police said the dog would search around and in the vehicle in a check for contraband, Bell told the officer that the marijuana was in the glove box, the complaint said. Police found a bag of suspected marijuana, estimated by police to be about 20 grams.
The three told police they pitched in to buy the marijuana. Police charged all three with prohibited acts, a misdemeanor, and Bell faces an additional charge of driving under the influence. Stafiej wrote he conducted field sobriety tests and believed Bell was not able to safely operate a vehicle. Police took him to UPMC Passavant to draw blood, which was done at 2:35 p.m., the complaint said. The results of the blood draw were not listed in the criminal complaint.
Bell and Blount could face four-game suspensions by league rules, but precedent suggests it won't be as severe.
With the charge of possession and DUI, Bell could face a stiffer penalty than Blount barring prior positive drug tests during their careers. The NFL has a confidentiality rule in which first-time offenders don't have their results made public.
Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at 412-380-8519 or firstname.lastname@example.org.