San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver was arrested Friday, after police say he struck a bicyclist in a hit-and-run crash and then threatened a witness with brass knuckles. Nannette Miranda reports.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver was arrested Friday, after police say he struck a bicyclist in a hit-and-run crash and then threatened a witness with brass knuckles.
Culliver is charged with suspicion of hit-and-run, reckless driving with injury and weapons possession, San Jose police said.
The 25-year-old was driving a white Ford Mustang Friday morning when he struck a bicyclist and attempted to flee the scene, according to police.
The collision was reported at 10:21 a.m. in the area of Tully road and South 7th Street in San Jose. Police said the bicyclist was struck while crossing the intersection.
A witness followed Culliver to the area of Mekler Drive and Senter Road, and attempted to block the NFL player from leaving, police said.
When he was cornered by the witness, police said, Culliver threatened the witness with brass knuckles before getting back into his car and driving away, striking the eyewitness' vehicle in the process.
When police arrived, they took Culliver into custody without incident.
The 49ers cornerback was booked in Santa Clara County jail for felony hit-and-run, felony reckless driving with injury, felony possession of brass knuckles, misdemeanor hit-and-run and misdemeanor driving on a suspended license.
Culliver posted bail and was released at about 5:30 p.m. Information regarding Culliver’s lawyer was not immediately available.
The bicyclist suffered minor, non-life threatening injuries and was released from the scene.
In a statement, the San Francisco 49ers told NBC Bay Area the team is "aware of the recent matter involving Chris Culliver."
"We will remain in contact with Chris and the local authorities as we continue to gather the facts regarding this situation. As this is an ongoing legal matter, we will reserve further comment at this time.”
Culliver has been with the 49ers since 2011 when he was drafted 80th overall by the team.
Two years ago, he started six games at cornerback. Culliver tore his ACL in training camp last year, missing the entire 2013 season.
Culliver has made headlines before, for anti-gay remarks he made during a media day interview prior to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. He later apologized for those comments and was making strides toward reforming his image by working with LGBT organizations such as the Trevor Project.
Culliver also has been active in promoting animal welfare, and received a “Champion of Compassion” award earlier this month from Critter Lovers at Work (CLAW), a volunteer group that works with the San Francisco SPCA. He’s also scheduled to play host to the ABKC Dog Show on April 5 at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, an event benefiting his “Chris Culliver Foundation,” an organization “helping inner city youth and promoting the welfare of animals.”
The 49er was projected to fight for a starting position at cornerback this season.
Culliver is not the first 49er to run into trouble in San Jose.
His teammate, All-Pro linebacker Aldon Smith, was wounded while breaking up a fight at a party at his home. The incident resulted in police later charging him with three felony counts of possessing an illegal assault weapon.
Then last September, following a car accident, police arrested Smith on suspicion of DUI and possession of marijuana. The linebacker then entered rehab. Smith faces a court appearance next month.