An Indianapolis Colts football player from Gaithersburg was arrested in Northeast Washington early Saturday after the Chevrolet Camaro he was a passenger in fled a traffic stop and officers found a semiautomatic pistol under one of the seats, according to police.
Joseph Calvin Lefeged, who was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2011, was charged with carrying a pistol without a license, possession of an unregistered handgun, unlawful possession of ammunition, having a gun in a car and having an open container of alcohol.
The safety, 25, played in all 16 regular season games last season and started in four.
D.C. Superior Court Judge Ann O’Regan Keary ordered Lefeged held in jail until a preliminary hearing scheduled for July 2, according to court records. A spokesman for the Colts could not be reached for comment.
Police said Lefeged was arrested after he tried to run from the police. The .40-caliber gun was found under the front passenger seat of the Camaro convertible, which police saw speeding with a back-seat passenger standing up.
That man, identified by police as Aaron Timothy Wilson, 23, of Potomac, was also arrested and charged with the same offenses, according to a police spokesman. The driver of the car fled and was being sought Saturday.
Lefeged attended Northwest High School in Germantown.
In 2006, The Washington Post named Lefeged, then a linebacker, the All-Met Defensive Player of the Year. The Post noted that no player had been used in more diverse ways. Lefeged also played as running back, wide receiver, quarterback and punt and kickoff returner prior to college.
He played college football for Rutgers University, where he started at strong safety for three years and as a kick returner. Last year, for the Colts, he contributed to 25 tackles and one fumble recovery, and he led the team with 16 special-team tackles, according to team statistics. He played in his first playoff game in January, getting two tackles and forcing a fumble against the Baltimore Ravens.
It could not immediately be learned why Lefeged was in Washington on Saturday. Police said that about 12:05 a.m., members of a squad to prevent robberies were on a stop in the 4600 block of Central Avenue NE, near the Benning Road Metro station, when they saw the Camaro convertible, with the top down, speed by them “well in excess of the 25 mph residential speed limit.”
According to court documents obtained by The Post ahead of the court appearance, Wilson was standing “completely upright” in the back seat of the Camaro. Police said he was not wearing his seat belt. Lefeged was in the front passenger seat.
The court charging documents say the officers, in plain clothes but wearing badges draped around their necks, stopped the Camaro and told the driver that they were conducting a traffic stop. Police said he answered, “For what?”
One officer then smelled marijuana, according to the court papers. Authorities said the driver again asked, “Why are you stopping me?” Police said an officer ordered the driver to put the vehicle in park.
“The driver of the vehicle then stepped on the gas and accelerated,” nearly hitting some of the four officers who were surrounding the vehicle, the documents say.
Officers jumped in their unmarked car and began to search for the Camaro, finding it less than a half mile away in the 4200 block of Blaine Street NE. The court documents say Lefeged ran west from the car while Wilson ran east, leaving the Camaro in the middle of the street with its doors open.
Police said they quickly arrested Lefeged and Wilson. The charging documents say the gun was in plain view, “sticking out from underneath the front passenger seat.” Police described it as a black .40-caliber semiautomatic Heckler & Koch that Lefeged had purchased in February for $900. Police said the receipt for the gun was in the car.
Police said they also found a clear plastic bottle, in the front console cup holder, that contained a mixture of orange juice and vodka.
Authorities said Lefeged had paperwork for the gun from the Maryland State Police. District police did not say whether the gun was legally registered in Maryland or whether Lefeged had a carry permit from that state. Even if he did, the gun would be illegal in Washington, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the country.
According to the Colts Web site, Lefeged volunteered at community outreach events during the 2011 Super Bowl played in Indianapolis.