(CNN) — Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent was arrested on suspicion of intoxication manslaughter after a Mercedes he was driving in Irving, Texas, flipped and caught fire early Saturday morning, killing teammate Jerry Brown Jr., police said.
Brent’s car was allegedly traveling at a high speed when it hit a curb, according to Irving police, who said officers on the scene “believed alcohol was a contributing factor in the crash.”
The car traveled about 900 feet after hitting the curb, said police spokesman John Argumaniz. When officers came upon the scene, Brent was dragging Brown from the car, he said.
The 25-year-old passenger was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Brown was an outside linebacker on the Dallas practice squad, having been released by the Indianapolis Colts in October.
Brent, 24, in his third season with the team, was booked into the Irving City Jail on one count of intoxication manslaughter — considered a second-degree felony that carries a potential two- to 20-year prison sentence with a maximum $10,000 fine.
Brent pleaded guilty to a DUI charge in 2009, according to court records in Champaign, Illinois. The records list Brent, who played football with Brown at the University of Illinois, as Joshua Price-Brent, the same name listed in the Irving police report. The athlete got a 60-day sentence, a fine and 200 hours of community service.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Saturday, “We are deeply saddened by the news of this accident and the passing of Jerry Brown.”
“At this time, our hearts and prayers and deepest sympathies are with the members of Jerry’s family and all of those who knew him and loved him,” he said in a statement.
News of Brown’s death prompted a flurry of online comments from former Brown classmates and coaches at Illinois.
Arrelious Benn tweeted: “Prayers go out to the family of my former classmate, teammate Former Illini Jerry Brown. RIP. #Illini”
Illinois coach Tim Beckman posted: “Sad News for the illini family today. Jerry Brown, former illini and current NFL player has passed away. Keep him in your prayers.”
The incident occurred shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday, one day before Dallas is scheduled to play the Bengals in Cincinnati.
According to the Cowboy’s website, Brent has 22 tackles in the 12 games that he’s played in this year, starting in five of them.
In an effort to keep intoxicated players from taking the wheel, the NFL Players Association runs a “Safe Rides” program for $85 per ride, taking it over from the NFL due to confidentiality concerns.
By David Ariosto
CNN’s Chandler Friedman and Jason Durand contributed to this report.
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