San Francisco 49ers' Aldon Smith was arrested on suspicion of hit-and-run, DUI and vandalism, Santa Clara police said, prompting the linebacker to apologize to his fans and insist that "it wasn't a DUI."
Hours later, the All-Pro was released from the team.
At a news conference Friday, Santa Clara Police Lt. Kurt Clarke said that Smith's SUV had struck a parked car Thursday at 8:46 p.m. in the shared parking lot in the 500 block of Moreland Way, where he lives. The owner of that struck car then confronted Smith about the damage, Clarke said. The car owner and Smith talked, after which Smith walked away.
About 10 p.m., Smith returned to his apartment complex. Police were already there because the car owner had called officers. Clarke said police observed that Smith looked drunk. They administered a field sobriety test, which they say he flunked. Smith was cooperative throughout, Clarke added.
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Smith was arrested before midnight. The vandalism charge, Clarke added, is for when Smith's SUV door banged into the adjacent vehicle. Because of a prior weapons conviction, Smith is not allowed to drink any alcohol and drive. It's unclear, however, if Smith had been drunk while he was driving since he walked back to the complex on foot. Clarke did not elaborate at the news conference.
This is Smith's fifth arrest - three of which have been for driving under the influence - since 2012.
Smith spoke to reporters after bailing out on Friday morning outside the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose, apologizing to 49ers fans, and saying that "it wasn't a DUI." His bail had been set at $26,000.
"It wasn't a DUI and I apologize for how it played out," Smith said calmly outside the jail. "This wasn't a DUI. The situation that happened could have been handled differently. I'm sorry to everyone that I let down. Justice will be served. It will work out how it's supposed to work out."
And then, Smith asked reporters to "leave him alone" as he got into a black Mercedes waiting for him on the curb.
As a whole, Smith's arrest marks the 12th arrest for the 49ers since 2012. A tentative court date has been set for Oct. 6.
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As recently as this week, colleagues and coaches were praising what had appeared to be a life turnaround for the 25-year-old.
Smith was entering the final year of his contract, and General Manager Trent Baalke had told reporters he was "pleased" with the "way he's handled things."
Smith has had to handle a lot in the last several years, including four prior arrests.
Smith was arrested Jan. 28, 2012 in Miami Beach, Florida for driving under the influence, which was later reduced to reckless driving.
He was charged on Oct. 9, 2013, with three felony counts of illegally possessing an assault weapon stemming from a prior birthday party at his home in San Jose, which were later reduced to misdemeanors. However, in July 2014, a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge sentenced Smith to 11 days in a work program, community service and three years of probation.
Legal analyst Steven Clark said that this latest arrest could trigger a probation violation because he was ordered to not drive with any amount of alcohol in his system.
Smith was arrested on a DUI charge on Sept. 20, 2013, after a car accident in San Jose, and voluntarily entered rehab after pleading no contest
And he was also arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on April 12, 2014, where a TSA agent claimed he was being belligerent. The Los Angeles City Attorney decided to drop charges, but Smith was suspended for nine games in 2014.
NBC Bay Area's Tony Kovaleski, Robert Handa, Shawn Murphy and Michael Horn contributed to this report.