Former NBA player and current Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd testified on Tuesday that he had “three or four” drinks of tequila before crashing his SUV in Water Mill last July.
Mr. Kidd, 40, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DWI in the Southampton Justice Court a little more than one year after driving his 2010 Cadillac Escalade into a telephone pole and was sentenced to an interim period of probation, which will include performing acts of community service, such as speaking to local high school students about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Mr. Kidd originally pleaded not guilty but rescinded that plea in lieu of a lighter sentence. If he meets the criteria set by the court during his interim probation—which was not given a set duration Tuesday—then the misdemeanor charge will be dropped to a count of driving while ability was impaired by alcohol, a violation.
No other vehicle was involved in the crash that occurred near the intersection of Cobb and Little Cobb roads, and Mr. Kidd was alone in the car at the time. He was hospitalized for minor injuries after the incident, which occurred shortly before 2 a.m. on July 15, 2012.
Mr. Kidd refused to take a breath screen test and a chemical test after the accident. He also paid the Long Island Power Authority to replace the damaged telephone pole, his attorney, Edward Burke Jr. said.
After Tuesday’s hearing Mr. Kidd stood alongside Mr. Burke at a press conference outside Justice Court in Hampton Bays, but he declined to make a comment. Mr. Burke said his client will attempt to turn a bad situation around by doing community outreach, adding that as a coach, Mr. Kidd’s responsibilities as a role model have increased.
“Kids look up to him,” Mr. Burke said. “Kids listen to what he has to say, not just about basketball, but about life.”
Mr. Burke said now that Mr. Kidd owns a house in Water Mill he hopes to be an active member of the community.
During the press conference, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said the average sentencing for DWI is three years of probation. He justified Mr. Kidd’s less severe punishment by saying the former NBA All Star has an opportunity to contribute to the greater good of the community by giving speeches at two Suffolk County high schools.
“This is an opportunity that we in the DA’s office have that we rarely have with a person of his stature … he’s a role model for kids and other people,” Mr. Spota said. “And he’s going to have that opportunity to reach out to them. That is far more of an impact than being on probation.”