Rex Ryan was already having a multi-car pileup of an offseason, metaphorically. Now comes word that the Jets head coach literally had one last week: A tipster wrote us yesterday to say that a week earlier, Ryan was in a three-car crash in Bethlehem, Pa.
The tip said that Ryan had sped through an intersection, only to have his car collide with another vehicle, which in turn crashed into a third. A source with the Bethlehem police department confirmed those details, except for the speeding.
According to the police, Ryan was driving a red Mustang westbound on West 3rd Street in Bethlehem at
6:13 p.m. on Jan. 14 when he allegedly ran a red light at the intersection of West 3rd and Wyandotte Street. The Mustang collided with another vehicle, sending it crashing into the third vehicle. "It's a blind hill to some degree," a police source said, describing the intersection. "It kind of crests at Wyandotte Street."
The police source said Ryan denied he was speeding, and that the damage at the scene did not indicate he had been speeding. The police source added that Ryan allegedly did not deny he ran the red light, however. All three vehicles sustained what the police source described as "moderate" damage. There were no injuries, and the police source did not say whether Ryan had been given a citation. [Update (4:31 p.m.): A Jets team spokesman told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that Ryan got off with a warning. Update (8:16 p.m.): Bethlehem PD has issued a statement that says the crash investigation is ongoing, and they've tweeted that Ryan never got a warning. But Jane McManus of ESPN New York says the actual police report from the incident says Ryan did get a written warning. Which is it, Bethlehem PD? Update (10:25 p.m.): Bethlehem police have deleted at least two tweets that said Ryan never got a warning, including one that took a shot at McManus. I've emailed the chief, and I'll pass along what he says. Update (10:56 p.m.): Chief Jason Schiffer of the Bethlehem PD confirmed that there was a "misunderstanding." The officer who had investigated the crash scene was injured later that night and has yet to return to duty. There was thus confusion in preparing the press release, but Schiffer said without qualification that Ryan was indeed issued a warning, and that the crash was still under investigation.]
Our tipster speculated that Ryan might have been driving through Bethlehem because he was on his way to meet with Marty Mornhinweg, the former Eagles offensive coordinator hired over the weekend to the same position with the Jets. We could not confirm why Ryan was driving through Bethlehem, Pa., in the early evening hours last Monday.
Update (2:57 p.m.): This is what happened to one of the other cars:
Additional reporting by Jack Dickey.