BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — England soccer player Jack Grealish pleaded guilty to two driving offenses on Tuesday, the first coming in March during lockdown in Britain when a witness said he found the Aston Villa captain slurring his words after crashing his car.
Entering pleas through his lawyer, Grealish admitted to driving without due care and a separate offense of careless driving. He did not appear at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard that a day after publishing a video message on Twitter urging people to stay at home to save lives and protect the National Health Service, Grealish was driving a car that hit two parked vehicles in a residential estate at 8:40 a.m.
A witness said he saw Grealish, wearing two different colored slippers on his feet, get into his Range Rover, reverse it at speed to crash into a van and mount a kerb as he drove out of the cul-de-sac. The car shortly after reversed at speed — “swerving left and right,” according to the witness — and hit a Mercedes. Grealish’s car was then driven into a nearby car-park wall, the witness said.
Prosecutor Tinofara Nyatanga recounted the opinion of the witness — a security guard who spoke to Grealish after the crashes — by saying: “He could smell, in his opinion, intoxicating liquor on his breath.
“His speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet.”
During the hearing, District Judge John Bristow pointed out the offense took place well into the first national COVID-19 lockdown, when Grealish “shouldn’t even have been driving.”
Grealish apologized hours after the incident, saying in a video message that he was “deeply embarrassed” and had “stupidly agreed” to go around to a friend’s house.
In the second offense, which took place last month, Grealish was seen driving at “close to an intimidating distance” behind other drivers on a motorway in a bid “to get them to move out of the way,” the court heard.
His car was clocked by an unmarked police patrol doing up to 98 mph (157 kph) on a stretch of the motorway.
Sentencing was adjourned until Dec. 15, when Grealish is set to attend.
Grealish has been one of the best players in the Premier League this season and has recently established himself as a regular for England.
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