Yesterday TMZ reported that Seattle Seahawks running back Fred Jackson got into an accident outside of the team’s practice facility while “drag racing” with teammate Marshawn Lynch. While no one disputes Jackson crashed his car into a stop sign, he says he wasn’t racing, and the Renton (Wash.) police say there is no evidence of anything other than Jackson losing control of his vehicle.
The Renton Police Department released a press release last night that said about reports that Jackson was racing—in bold and underlined—”These reports are false.” But TMZ is doubling down on their initial reporting today, and in a follow-up relays the story of eyewitness Jason Hellervik, who was present seeking autographs. (Which, incidentally, probably explains how TMZ broke this news faster than the Seattle-based football media.) Hellervik tells TMZ that Jackson “was revving his engine at another driver” and that “both cars rocketed down a 1 mile stretch ... leaving no doubt they were drag racing.”
From the police description of the accident, it looks more like a 0.4 mile straightaway than a one mile straightaway (you can view a map of the scene of the incident here), followed by a very tight turn before the stop sign where Jackson lost control. It’s also worth noting that now TMZ has walked back their claim that Marshawn Lynch was involved, now saying that Jackson was racing “another driver.”
Finally, according to Hellervik, he and six other witnesses to the alleged illegal street race would cooperate with the police, but haven’t been contacted by them. When I asked the Renton Police Department if they could confirm that Jackson was revving his engine at another vehicle, and that they had not reached out to Hellervik or the six witnesses, this is what a spokesperson told me:
I’ve talked to two or three people from TMC [sic] so far. I told him that if there any [sic] witnesses that they know of that we would like to talk to them. They declined to give us any information.
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