RALEIGH — A detailed police report into the traffic stop and arrest of UNC basketball star P.J. Hairston says that he switched places with a passenger to try to avoid a citation of driving without a license, admitted to being a “recreational” marijuana user and had been given the rental car that he was driving to go to Atlanta and see friends.
The new details raise more questions about Hairston’s standing with the basketball program, which is reviewing the situation. The details also counter claims by the Durham man who had rented the car, Haydn “Fats” Thomas, who had told reporters he did not give the 2013 GMC Yukon to Hairston but to another man in the car.
Thomas is a convicted felon with a lengthy criminal record; Hairston had been stopped for a speeding ticket in a second rental vehicle, a 2012 Chevrolet Camaro, that is linked to Thomas.
Police found two bags with small amounts of marijuana in the car and a 9 mm handgun and marijuana along the street where the car had stopped about 75 yards shy of a vehicle checkpoint set up by Durham police the night of June 5. The car had a strong odor of burned marijuana, but Hairston denied using any that evening.
Police charged Hairston, 20, of Greensboro, with misdemeanor marijuana possession and driving without a license.
The narrative report, obtained by The News & Observer, has not been released publicly by Durham police, but an official there confirmed it was authentic. The lieutenant, Brian Reitz, executive officer to Chief Jose Lopez, said he had no comment about the case other than to say no additional charges would be filed.
Hairston would be a junior this fall. The 6-foot-5 guard led the team in scoring last season.
The arrest, coupled with Thomas providing at least one rental car to Hairston, creates potential NCAA problems for Hairston and UNC. NCAA regulations generally prohibit athletes from receiving benefits from anyone beyond family and previously established friends.
Bubba Cunningham, the UNC athletics director, declined to say Friday whether UNC had been aware of Thomas and any potential relationships he might have shared with UNC athletes before Hairston’s arrest. Cunningham also declined to answer whether UNC has been in contact with the NCAA about the Hairston case.
Cunningham referred both questions to a statement he made earlier in the week, in which he said UNC was still gathering facts surrounding the case. UNC basketball coach Roy Williams also declined to comment Friday.
According to the police report, the Yukon caught a police officer’s attention when it stopped ahead of the checkpoint, which was in a section east of downtown Durham that has long struggled with criminal activity. Corporal Thomas Navarre used a flashlight to signal to the driver to continue to the checkpoint.
Hairston told police he had been driving the car, but when he saw the checkpoint he realized he could not find his drivers license. He woke up Miykael Faulcon, a friend who was in the passenger seat. Faulcon, 20, of Durham, is a basketball player for Elizabeth City State University.
Hairston told police there was nothing in the vehicle when he picked it up. He had checked the glove box to make sure.
He at first said he didn’t notice a smell of marijuana, but then acknowledged he smelled “small hints” of it as he and Faulcon went to pick up Sanford. He denied throwing anything out of the car prior to the checkpoint, nor did he see Faulcon or Sanford tossing anything out.