McNair case dismissed

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Steve McNair's driving under the influence by consent charge was dismissed this morning in Nashville, Tenn., an outcome predicted by his attorney since the NFL star's arrest two months ago.

McNair's misdemeanor case was automatically thrown out by the presiding judge because McNair's brother-in-law, Jamie Cartwright, accepted a plea bargain in his DUI case and pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless driving.

"I'm glad it's over," McNair told reporters during a brief interview while exiting the courthouse. "That's all that matters."

Cartwright was sentenced to six months of jail time with all but two days suspended, six months of supervised probation, a $350 fine and was required to complete an alcohol safety course. That brokered deal is identical to the one that was discussed during a May 30 pretrial settment conference, but wasn't formally executed until today.

"I'm glad to put this behind me," McNair said in a statement released by the team a few hours after leaving the courthouse. "I said before that I thought I did the right thing that night, and the court process had to play out. "I've been getting ready for the start of training camp, and I'm ready to go. I'm looking forward to getting back on the field with my teammates and coaches. Right now, I'm going to take a little vacation with my family."

McNair and Cartwright were arrested May 9 in Nashville when Cartwright was pulled over for allegedly driving 45 mph in a 35-mph zone. He refused to take a Breathalyzer exam, failed a field sobriety test, exhibited a "strong odor of alcohol" and "red, glassy eyes," and acknowledged that he had consumed a few beers, according to a police report.

Because Cartwright was driving McNair's silver 2003 Dodge pickup truck, McNair was charged under a Tennessee ordinance established in 1955 that prohibits a vehicle owner from knowingly allowing someone who's inebriated to drive their car.

"Mr. McNair was trying to do what he thought was right, and he did so without knowledge that it was a violation of Tennessee law," said Roger May, McNair's lawyer. "He's not someone who I think will find himself in trouble again. He knows and respects the law."

McNair is a former Co-NFL Most Valuable Player and a three-time Pro Bowl selection who helped the Ravens achieve a franchise-best 13-3 record and claim an AFC North title last season. He passed for 3,050 yards and 16 touchdowns last season after being traded from the Tennessee Titans.

The Ravens report to training camp in Westminster on July 29.

"We're glad to have this end," Ravens senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne said Tuesday. "As Steve has said, he tried to do the right thing that night. We're looking forward to seeing Steve and his teammates for the start of camp at the end of the month."

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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