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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Clarett indicted again after police chase incident

By Rusty Miller The Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Former Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett was indicted Thursday on new charges related to a highway chase and violent struggle with police.

Clarett, found with four loaded guns in his SUV, was indicted on five charges that include carrying a concealed weapon and two counts of failure to comply with an order from a police officer. He will be arraigned Monday.

Clarett was arrested Aug. 9 after authorities say he tried to flee a police officer. Police noticed a vehicle driving erratically, beginning a highway chase that ended when police spiked the tires of Clarett’s SUV. Officers said their stun guns did not work on Clarett because he was wearing a bulletproof vest.

Clarett is set to go to trial on Sept. 18 on charges accusing him of robbing two people of a cell phone outside a bar early on New Year’s Day.

Clarett, who led Ohio State to the 2002 national championship, will be arraigned on the five new charges on Monday.

The indictment also includes charges of improper handling of a firearm and one count of using a gun while under indictment on the New Year’s Day robbery.

Police used pepper spray to finally gain control of and handcuff Clarett. They said he kicked the doors of the police vehicle and that they had to put a cloth mask over his mouth because he was spitting at them.

Clarett is being held in the Franklin County jail.

At the time of his arrest, he was driving a few blocks from the home of a woman who authorities said was scheduled to testify against him in the robbery trial. In that case, witnesses said Clarett flashed a gun and robbed two people of a cell phone behind a Columbus nightclub.

Clarett has undergone a mental health examination since his arrest.

His defense attorneys in both cases, Michael Hoague and Nick Mango, did not return messages seeking comment. The county prosecutor and the lead prosecutor in the case also did not return calls.

Clarett’s attorneys requested a public survey to determine if their client could get a fair trial in the county where he once starred on the field, but that request was denied by Common Pleas Judge David W. Fais on Wednesday.

Clarett was an instant sensation at Ohio State after enrolling in January 2002 after an expedited graduation from his high school in Warren, Ohio. He had been selected as the national player of the year by several publications.

He started right away and led the Buckeyes in rushing with a freshman-record 1,237 yards on 222 carries, despite missing all or part of five games.

At the same time, he enraged fans in an ESPN The Magazine article by hinting that he might leave school after one year to challenge the NFL’s early entry draft rules. A picture with the story showed him tossing his Ohio State jersey aside.

Clarett said after that story came out that he started receiving death threats.

Clarett had two of the most important plays as unbeaten Ohio State beat Miami 31-24 in double overtime in the Fiesta Bowl that season to win its first national championship since 1968. He scored the winning touchdown on a 5-yard run and also stripped the ball from a defender after it had been intercepted deep in Miami territory.

His life has spiraled out of control since.

Even before the game he called then-Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger a liar for not permitting him to fly home from Arizona to attend the funeral of a friend.

He was charged with falsely reporting a theft to police in the summer of 2003 and later was suspended from the team for accepting improper benefits from a family friend. He dropped out of school and began a legal challenge to the NFL rule that does not permit a player to be drafted until three years after his high school class graduated.

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