Olympic skier pleads not guilty to drunk driving

Reuters News

7/25/2011 11:43:46 PM - Reuters News

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - Olympic skier Jeret "Speedy" Peterson has been charged with misdemeanor drunk driving after he was pulled over for motoring well above the speed limit along an Idaho road, authorities said on Monday.

Peterson, a silver medalist in the men's freestyle aerials competition at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, pleaded not guilty to the charge of driving under the influence of alcohol and to a speeding citation through paperwork filed by his attorney over the weekend.

Police arrested Peterson, 29, of Boise, Idaho, on Friday after he drove his Dodge Dakota pickup truck at a speed an officer estimated at 70 miles per hour through a section of downtown Hailey, Idaho, where the limit is 25 mph, a police report said.

After he was pulled over, Peterson agreed to perform three field sobriety tests, which he failed, the report said. He later refused a Breathalyzer test, according to the report.

He gained the nickname "Speedy" because coaches "thought he resembled the cartoon character 'Speed Racer' with a big helmet," according to a profile of Peterson on the website of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.

Peterson was found guilty in 2008 of public urination in Boise, and in 2006 he pleaded guilty to theft by receiving stolen property, according to Idaho court records.

He faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 if found guilty of misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol.

(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis, Steve Gorman and Cynthia Johnston)