University of Arkansas Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said Thursday night Head Coach Bobby Petrino has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a review of new information concerning his motorcycle accident.
Long made the announcement during a news conference at the university. He said Taver Johnson will take over Petrino’s duties in the meantime.
The following statement from Petrino was released Thursday night:
“The state police report today provides an accurate description of my accident, which includes details that had not publically come to light prior to the report being issued. I regret that I have not publically acknowledged a passenger on the vehicle. I have been in constant pain, medicated and the circumstances involving the wreck have come out in bits and pieces. That said I certainly had a concern about Jessica Dorrell’s name being revealed. In my press conference, I referred to her simply as ‘a lady’. My concern was to protect my family and a previous inappropriate relationship from becoming public. In hindsight, I showed a serious mistake in judgment when I chose not to be more specific about those details. Today, I’ve acknowledged this previous inappropriate relationship with my family and those within the athletic department administration.
I apologize to my wife, Becky, and our four children, Chancellor (David) Gearhart, Jeff Long, the Board of Trustees, University administration, my coaching staff, student-athletes and the entire state of Arkansas. I have been humbled by the outpouring of concern and get-well wishes. I apologize to the Razorback Nation for the attention my actions have brought to the University of Arkansas and our program. I will fully cooperate with the University throughout this process and my hope is to repair my relationships with my family, my Athletic Director, the Razorback Nation and remain the head coach of the Razorbacks.”
Earlier in the day, Arkansas State Police released an accident report that stated Petrino had a female university employee riding on the back of his motorcycle when he crashed on the evening of April 1. Petrino told 5NEWS Tuesday after a news conference he was on the motorcycle by himself at the time of the accident.
Jessica Dorrell, 25, of Elkins, apparently was uninjured in the accident on state Highway 16 near the Crosses community in Madison County. Petrino said he sustained damage to his C2 vertebra and broke four ribs.
Contacted by telephone Thursday, Dorrell told 5NEWS, “I’m not ready to comment at this time.”
The State Police report states Petrino and Dorrell were not at the scene of the accident when the trooper arrived.
The two were picked up by an Ozark couple and the man’s son as the three happened to be driving by at the time of the accident. They dropped Petrino and Dorrell off at the intersection of Hunstville and Crossover roads in Fayetteville, the report states. Dorrell left in her vehicle, and Petrino was taken to Physicians’ Specialty Hospital by State Police Capt. Lance King of Troop L, according to the report.
Petrino said he wasn’t speeding on the curves of the two-lane highway, but that the sun and a gust of wind may be to blame for the accident.
According to the statement Petrino gave the State Police, he said he “could not maneuver the turn (and) drove off the road.” He said he tried to lay the bike down.
“The next thing I know I was lying in a wood pile,” he said.
Asked if he had been given a blood alcohol test after the accident, Petrino said, “I was given blood tests, but I absolutely had nothing to drink. I spent the day at the lake with my wife working. She works me hard when I’m up there. But I absolutely had no alcohol in my system.”
Bill Sadler with Arkansas State Police told 5NEWS Thursday that Petrino was not given a blood alcohol test. According to Sadler, officers by law are required to give a blood alcohol test if the accident results is a fatality or imminent fatality. However, if not, it is up to the discretion of the officer on the scene. If alcohol use is not suspected, then the officer is not required by law to administer a blood alcohol test, Sadler said. The trooper investigating the Petrino accident did not detect an alcohol odor or any behavior that would indicate he had been drinking, Sadler said.
The report states no citations will be issued in the accident.
On March 28, Dorrell was named a Student-Athlete Development Coordinator, according to a media release from the University. She’s also a former member of the Razorback volleyball team.
Watch the Complete News Conference with UA Athleticas Director Jeff Long below.