Written by The New Pittsburgh Courier
by Joe Mandak
PITTSBURGH (AP)—Pitt basketball coach Jamie Dixon has indefinitely suspended junior transfer Trey Zeigler, who apologized for being charged with drunken driving after police said he was found passed out behind the wheel early Sunday.
Dixon issued a statement Monday calling the incident "not only surprising, but incredibly disappointing" and "out of character" for Zeigler, who transferred to Pitt this season from Central Michigan after his father was fired as coach there in March.
|SUSPENDED—Pittsburgh's Trey Zeigler, top, is lifted by J.J. Moore after getting a dual possession call with seconds left and driving the game to overtime Nov. 17 in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh was down by 14 points at the half and came back to win 72-62 in overtime. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Zeigler also issued a statement through the team apologizing for his actions and saying "this is not indicative of the kind of person I am, nor the kind of person I want to be."
Two misdemeanor driving under the influence charges will be mailed to Zeigler, who must appear in Pittsburgh Municipal Court for a preliminary hearing Feb. 5. Court records don't list an attorney for Zeigler.
The 21-year-old shooting guard's legal name is Ernest Zeigler III. Zeigler has averaged 6.2 points for the Panthers this season. Zeigler was able to play for Pitt this season because the NCAA granted him a special transfer waiver in light of his father's firing.
Pittsburgh police were called to an intersection in the city's Oakland section, where the university is located, shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday. A cab driver told police he saw Zeigler passed out behind the wheel of his Hummer when the driver picked up a group of people about 2:50 a.m. The cabbie called police when he returned to the intersection about 15 minutes later and saw Zeigler still passed out in the vehicle, according to a criminal complaint.
Police identified Zeigler from his Michigan driver's license and said he failed field sobriety tests after they woke up Zeigler and had him checked out by paramedics.
Ziegler was handcuffed after a breath test showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.129 percent, more than the state's legal 0.08 percent limit for drivers. Zeigler also vomited in a police holding cell toilet before officers were able to contact his parents, who came and picked him up shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday, the complaint said.
It is routine for drunken driving suspects to be released to family members or other responsible parties.
Zeigler's vehicle was towed and impounded, police said.
"Trey has expressed his deep regret to me and understands and respects the importance of accountability for one's actions," Dixon said. The coach said Zeigler has been suspended until further notice.