UK safety Lowery cited for DUI after May wreck

jsmith3@herald-leader.comJuly 10, 2013 

University of Kentucky safety Ashely Lowery, who was involved in a horrific accident that threw him from his vehicle on May 4, was cited for driving under the influence after the wreck.

A police report says the 6-foot-1, 219-pounder from Cleveland, Ga., had a blood-alcohol level of 0.139 more than two hours after the crash. The legal limit in the state is 0.08.

Lowery, 20, also was cited for failure to maintain lane, failure to use a safety belt and a graduated license violation, according to state police reports obtained by the Herald-Leader on Wednesday. The violations are misdemeanors.

When asked about the DUI citation, UK spokesman Tony Neely said that Lowery is still with the team.

Neely issued a statement on behalf of head coach Mark Stoops later Wednesday that said, "We'll let the legal process take its course and address it at the appropriate time."

No court date has been set and it could take six months to a year to go to court, a White County, Ga. clerk said.

According to a crash report from Georgia State Patrol, a urine test performed on Lowery at Northeast Georgia Medical Center at 6:10 a.m. showed his blood-alcohol level at 0.139.

Lowery was driving a silver, 2011 Nissan Altima southbound on Town Creek Road in his hometown of Cleveland when the vehicle crossed the center line, traveled off the east shoulder and went down an embankment. The car "continued overturning as it traveled along the tree line before coming to rest on its top along the east shoulder of the road," the report said.

Tire yaw marks were evident on the road and the report estimated that the Altima traveled 265 feet after it left the road.

Shortly after the accident, Gordy Wright, the director of Public Information for the Georgia Department of Public Safety, reported that Lowery was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected 100 feet from the final resting spot of the vehicle. A diagram with the crash report shows the vehicle overturning five times.

The report also said the road conditions were dry on the two-lane road at 4 a.m.

Lowery spent several days in the intensive care unit before being released on May 10. He returned to UK's campus in early June and was cleared to start working out with teammates this week.

Lowery, who started eight games last season, was fifth on the team in tackles with 43. After spring practices, the junior had been touted by Coach Mark Stoops and the new coaching staff as an emerging defensive leader.

For his career, Lowery has played in 20 games and has 59 total tackles.

UK instituted a zero tolerance alcohol policy in which athletes were dismissed from the team and lost their scholarship for one year following an alcohol or drug conviction in 1998 after a fatal accident involving a football player.

That policy was amended a few years later to say that a player will miss 10 percent of his/her games after a first offense, Neely explained.

The most recent incident involving a football player and alcohol came in 2010 when Matt Roark was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. At the time, Joker Phillips suspended Roark for one game and said the wide receiver would be disciplined internally.

Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog: ukfootball.bloginky.com.

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