MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Vikings safety Jayron Kearse was charged Tuesday with multiple gun and alcohol counts after authorities say he was driving impaired while a loaded handgun containing more than two dozen rounds was on the floor of his car.
The 25-year-old Kearse was arrested early Sunday after he drove his car onto a closed portion of Interstate 94 in Minneapolis.
Prosecutors charged him with five counts, including a gross misdemeanor charge of carrying a gun without a permit. The other four counts were misdemeanors, including two drunken driving counts.
According to the criminal complaint, a state trooper who stopped Kearse noted a strong smell of alcohol coming from the car and Kearse's eyes were bloodshot and glassy. Kearse failed field sobriety tests and had a blood alcohol level of 0.10%, above Minnesota's legal limit.
Two other people were in the car at the time, including Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes. The complaint said when the trooper went to check on the male passenger — Hughes — he saw a 9mm Glock handgun partially hidden under the passenger seat. The gun was loaded with 28 rounds and had one round in the chamber, the complaint said.
The complaint said Kearse admitted he consumed four drinks before driving, and that he carries the gun for protection. The Vikings were off Sunday after defeating the Washington Redskins 19-9 on Thursday night.
Kearse spoke to reporters at practice Monday and apologized to the team and fans.
"I definitely take this matter seriously, and I'm sorry for putting anybody in harm's way and I will go through all the necessary steps to improve myself," he said.
A fourth-year safety and special teams captain, Kearse has 11 solo tackles this season.