By JOHN C. COTEY
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 23, 2001
Storm quarterback John Kaleo, whom the team has promoted as the face of the franchise, was arrested early Tuesday in Tampa and charged with driving under the influence.
Tampa Police Department spokesman Joe Durkin said Kaleo was stopped for speeding in his 1999 Ford Expedition while traveling east on the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway around 1 a.m. Police detected the odor of alcohol and the "appearance of intoxication" and made Kaleo take a field sobriety test, Durkin said.
He failed the test and was arrested.
Kaleo, 30, was taken to the Hillsborough County jail and registered .12 and .13 on his breathalyzer tests. A blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent is the threshold at which Florida law presumes someone is unable to drive safely. Kaleo was released on $500 bond at 8:28 a.m.
"We're aware of the incident," Storm coach Tim Marcum said. "We won't act until all the information is gathered. We believe John Kaleo to be a man of high character.
"We realize the gravity of the situation. But the last time I checked, there was this thing in the U.S. called jurisprudence, which means innocent until proven guilty."
Kaleo did not return phone calls to his cell and home phones. He also did not address the issue on his Tuesday night radio show.
The arrest is especially embarrassing to the Storm because Kaleo is its most visible player. Kaleo signed a new contract in November that gave him the added duties of representing the Storm in the off-season and playing a role in ticket sales and public appearances, and occupying the role former quarterback Jay Gruden did, a yearlong position designed "to be a spokesman," Marcum said.
"We believe him to be a role model and still do," Marcum said.
Marcum said he did not hear from Kaleo on Tuesday until the news of his arrest had broken. Marcum said Kaleo sounded upset and disappointed.
"The kid really didn't know what the next step was," Marcum said. "I just suggested he get legal counsel."
Kaleo's arrest comes as the Storm prepares for Sunday's nationally televised game against Grand Rapids. Both teams are 5-0.
Marcum said Kaleo will play. He will wait until the legal process plays out before deciding on disciplinary action.
Durkin said that if Kaleo is convicted, he faces up to six months in jail, but "more than likely he'll be looking at a first offense license suspension (one year), probation and a fine."
The league could discipline Kaleo, though Marcum said that is unlikely. Tom Goodhines, league manager of media services, would not clarify the league's policy on DUI convictions because they are worded in "internal documents." He said that if Kaleo is convicted, he will be "simply up for review on an individual basis."
Kaleo is off to the best start in his eight-year career. The former Maryland standout has thrown for 1,089 yards and 27 touchdowns without an interception.
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