LOS ANGELES: Former NBA star Dennis Rodman was given community service for a hit-and-run accident he caused by driving the wrong way on a freeway ramp in southern California, officials said.
Rodman was at the wheel of a sports utility vehicle in the early hours of July 20 last year when he went into the southbound carpool lane of Interstate 5 in Santa Ana, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.
The 55-year-old drove head-on toward a black BMW, causing the driver to swerve into a dividing wall to avoid a collision with Rodman’s vehicle.
The five-time NBA champion did not exchange information with the other driver and fled the scene before police arrived, the district attorney’s office said in a statement.
Rodman, who was not at the hearing in Orange County Superior Court, admitted driving a motor vehicle across a divide, giving false information to police and driving without a license, but a charge of hit-and-run with property damage was dropped as part of his plea deal.
The false statement allegation stemmed from a call California Highway Patrol officials made to Rodman.
“It was a short phone call asking him about the accident and he was saying, ‘I was at the gym,’ and they said, ‘No, you were not at the gym,'” said his lawyer Paul Meyer, who chalked it up to a misunderstanding.
“We appreciate the careful review of the district attorney to make the right call in settlement,” Meyer added.
“The driving error at night was due to poor sign placement.”
Rodman was sentenced to three years of informal probation and 30 hours of community service, which he wants to serve by visiting hospitals, according to his legal team.
He was ordered to pay for the damage he caused and donate $500 to the Victim Witness Emergency Fund.
Rodman was known for his tattoos, body piercings and dyed hair during a 14-year NBA career that saw him winning titles with Detroit in 1989 and 1990 and alongside Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls from 1996-1998.
He has since promoted gambling websites and vodka, and backed US President Donald Trump’s bid for the White House, having appeared with him on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice.
Rodman also made three notable visits to North Korea in 2013 and early 2014, meeting leader Kim Jong-Un and bringing a team of ex-NBA players for exhibition games against the national team, one on Kim’s birthday. AFP