Citizen Staff Writer
By JOHN MOREDICH
University of Arizona starting quarterback Willie Tuitama has a court date Friday after being cited and released on suspicion of possession of alcohol as a minor.
Tuitama, a 20-year-old sophomore, was cited after a UA Police Department officer noticed he had “red, watery and bloodshot eyes and a moderate odor of intoxicants coming from his mouth” during a Feb. 16 incident, according to a police report.
An officer approached Tuitama’s car at 8:24 p.m. after hearing spinning tires and a loud exhaust, “indicating a quick acceleration,” the police report stated.
The officer drove into a parking lot lot near First Street and Vine Avenue to do field interviews with the occupants of the car. Nobody was in the driver’s seat of Tuitama’s vehicle, a Chevy Tahoe, the police report said.
Tuitama acknowledged that he had been driving, but because he was not seen behind the wheel, he was not cited for DUI.
Police said the officer saw two bottles of alcohol in the locked car – a bottle of brandy about one-third full and a half-full bottle of Hpnotiq Liqueur. They were not not recovered at the time because no keys were available.
The officer met Tuitama at the vehicle at 11:05 p.m., when the bottles of alcohol were taken into possession and poured out. If guilty, Tuitama could face probation, a fine or enrollment in a diversion program.
He has been UA’s starting quarterback the past 1 1/2 years. He sparked a late-season offensive surge in 2005.
Early-season concussions limited his effectiveness in 2006. He completed 56 percent of his passes for 1,335 yards for seven touchdowns despite missing parts of several games with the head injuries.