Jesse Freitas, Ex-San Diego Chargers Quarterback, Found Dead in Backseat of Camry: Petaluma Police

A man found dead in the backseat of his car Sunday afternoon has been identified as former San Diego Chargers quarterback Jesse Freitas, police in Petaluma, California, said Wednesday.

Freitas, 63, a Petaluma resident, played 13 games for the San Diego Chargers in 1974 and 1975 as the backup quarterback to Dan Fouts. He was drafted in 1974 in the sixth round, according to the National Football League.

He was found lying in the backseat of a green Toyota Camry by a family passing by the car in the 2100 block of Willow Drive around 4:50 p.m. Sunday, Petaluma police Lt. Dan Fish said. Freitas was fully dressed, his left arm was across his chest, the car door was open and it appeared as though he was lying down to take a nap or rest, Fish said.

There were no signs of trauma or foul play. He was pronounced dead at 4:55 p.m. and the results of an autopsy Tuesday are pending toxicology test results, Fish said.

Freitas had an appointment Sunday with a real estate agent to discuss a house that was for sale on Willow Drive, but the real estate agent left the house when Freitas didn't show up, according to Fish.

Freitas' ex-wife and a son were living in the area but he didn't have a place to live, Fish said.
According to Sonoma County Superior Court records, Freitas has a record of offenses since 2007 that included violating restraining orders, trespassing, and petty theft. Most recently, he was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of starting a fire at a property on Guerneville Road in Santa Rosa on Dec. 11, 2013. He pleaded no contest on Sept. 10 and was sentenced to six months in jail and given credit for time served.

During the 2014 court proceedings, doctors who examined him determined he was suffering from bipolar affective disorder. He was found mentally incompetent and was sent to Atascadero State Hospital in April. He was found restored to competency in August, according to court records.

Freitas attended Serra High in San Mateo, where he’s still considered to be one of the best quarterbacks who ever played for the school.

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