IRVING, Texas — Police charged Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent with intoxication manslaughter Saturday after he flipped his car in a pre-dawn accident that killed teammate Jerry Brown.
Irving police spokesman John Argumaniz said the accident happened about 2:20 a.m. Saturday in the Dallas suburb, hours before Brent was to be on a team flight to Cincinnati for the Cowboys' game today against the Bengals.
Argumaniz said the 25-year-old Brown — a practice-squad linebacker who also was Brent's teammate at the University of Illinois for three seasons — was found unresponsive at the scene and pronounced dead at a hospital.
Brown died a week after Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend before killing himself in front of his coach and general manager.
"We are deeply saddened by the news of this accident and the passing of Jerry Brown," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. "At this time, our hearts and prayers and deepest sympathies are with the members of Jerry's family and all of those who knew him and loved him."
Officers conducted a field sobriety test on Brent and arrested him on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, Argumaniz said. The charge, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison, was upgraded after Brown was pronounced dead.
Argumaniz said Brent, who pleaded guilty to a drunken driving charge three years ago at Illinois, was being held without bond. Brent is named as Joshua Price-Brent in the police news release. Argumaniz said Brent missed a 10 a.m. Saturday booking session with a judge because he was intoxicated. He did not know if Brent had an attorney.
Brent was speeding when the vehicle hit a curb and flipped at least once, Argumaniz said. Police received 911 calls from motorists who saw the upside-down vehicle but they did not immediately have any eyewitnesses to the wreck, the police spokesman said.
Argumaniz said when officers arrived at the scene on a state highway service road, Brent was dragging Brown from the vehicle, a Mercedes, which was on fire. Officers quickly put out the small blaze, he said.
Argumaniz wasn't sure if the vehicle was a car or SUV and said it wasn't known how fast the vehicle was traveling. The road has a 45 mph limit.
"I can say investigators are certain they were traveling well above the posted speed limit," Argumaniz said.
Before he was taken to the jail, Brent went to a hospital for a blood draw for alcohol testing and also received treatment for some minor scrapes.
Argumaniz said Brent identified himself to officers as a Cowboys player.
Brent was arrested in February 2009 near the Illinois campus for driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license and speeding, according to Champaign County, Ill., court records.
In June 2009, Brent pleaded guilty to DUI and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, two years of probation, 200 hours of community service and a fine of about $2,000. As part of his plea deal, prosecutors dropped one count of aggravated DUI/no valid driver's license. Brent successfully completed his probation in July 2011, court records show.
Brent, a nose guard, has played in all 12 games this season and has been a bigger presence on defense with starter Jay Ratliff battling injuries.