By Tom Jackman and Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, February 4, 2011; 10:29 PM
Washington Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth has been charged with simple assault for an alleged road rage incident with a driver on the Fairfax County Parkway in Reston, Fairfax police said Friday.
Haynesworth, 29, has not been arrested but is planning to accept his summons on the misdemeanor charge next week, Officer Shelley Broderick said.
Haynesworth did not return text and phone messages. But Haynesworth's agent said that there was no assault and that the allegations were "ridiculous."
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder declined to comment about the allegations. He said that he was "disappointed" in the team's investment in Haynesworth so far but that the lineman could still have a future in Washington. "It may still work out," he said. "You never know."
About 9 a.m. Wednesday, a 38-year-old man driving a 1994 Honda Civic and another driver - allegedly Haynesworth - were southbound on the parkway when the Civic driver believed that a pickup was tailgating and made a "non-verbal hand gesture" toward its driver, Broderick said.
The two vehicles came to a stoplight at the intersection with New Dominion Parkway, near the entrance to Reston Hospital Center. Broderick said the driver of the pickup emerged from his vehicle, had a brief exchange of words and hit the driver of the Civic.
ESPN.com identified the Civic's driver as Joel Velazques, 38, of Leesburg.
Velazques told ESPN that after their vehicles jockeyed for road space, a person he recognized as Haynesworth got out of a Ford truck with Tennessee license plates. Velazques said Haynesworth came to his driver's-side window. After Velazques rolled down his window, Haynesworth said to him twice, "You're not so tough now" and punched him in the side of his nose, ESPN reported.
Velazques said he followed Haynesworth but lost him. He told ESPN that he called 911 and gave a statement to a Fairfax officer.
Velazques said he was treated at a hospital for bruises.
The Washington Post could not locate a Joel Velazques in Leesburg.
Fairfax Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Ian M. Rodway said an officer assigned to the incident compiled a photo lineup and showed it to the Civic's driver, who identified Haynesworth as his assailant.
Police could not obtain a misdemeanor warrant because an officer did not witness the incident. So on Thursday night, the Civic's driver and the Fairfax officer went to a magistrate to obtain a warrant for simple assault, with the driver as the complainant. Because the warrant was not immediately available - warrants typically are not made public until they are served - the driver's name was not public record.
Broderick said that police had been in contact with Haynesworth's attorney and that Haynesworth was out of town and making arrangements to come in next week. Rodway said the charge was the equivalent of a traffic ticket. Haynesworth must sign a summons acknowledging that he has received the charge, and a court date will be set, Rodway said. He said Haynesworth will not be booked into the county jail.
Simple assault in Virginia is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in a county jail and a $2,500 fine, but a maximum sentence is rarely imposed unless the defendant has a lengthy prior record.
Haynesworth's agent, Chad Speck, said: "Albert has yet to speak to the authorities at all on this matter. So only one side of this story has been told at this point in time. If contacted by the authorities, Albert will certainly cooperate in any way. This man, who actually provoked the situation himself, recognized Albert and is now simply trying to turn it into his 15 minutes of fame and get, we can only assume, some money.
"Albert did not assault this man and looks forward to his day in court to refute these ridiculous allegations."
Haynesworth, who was suspended by the team for the final four games of the season for insubordination, has had previous troubles on the road. In December 2008, he pleaded guilty to driving 103 mph in a 70-mph zone on Interstate 65 south of Nashville and was placed on 30 days' probation. Four days after that plea, he was speeding in a 2008 black Ferrari on the same stretch of I-65 when he swerved across two lanes and slammed into another car, driving it into the concrete median.
The driver of the other car, Corey Edmondson, was seriously injured and needed a hip replacement.
Staff writer Rick Maese and staff researcher Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.