Former NFL linebacker Junior Seau drove his SUV off an embankment in Carlsbad, Calif., on Monday, just hours after being arrested on suspicion of domestic violence involving his live-in girlfriend.
Seau, 41, was reportedly released from a San Diego detention facility a little more than an hour after being arrested at approximately 2:00 a.m. local time.
His white Cadillac SUV was found on the beach about 100 feet below the roadside, said Carlsbad police Lt. Kelly Cain. Cain said it wasn’t a sheer cliff, but was a significant, rough slope.
Seau, whom police say was conscious, was pulled from the vehicle by law enforcement officials and taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla with minor injuries.
Sources told entertainment news site TMZ.com that Seau told police he simply nodded off and was not attempting to kill himself.
Carlsbad police dispatcher Matthew Pinell said late Monday alcohol and drugs are not suspected to be factors in the crash ”at this time.”
Seau told investigators he drove off the cliff because he fell asleep.
Cain told the North County Times that the lack of skid marks leading up to where the vehicle plunged off the cliff supported Seau’s statement.
”If you have somebody fall asleep, that’s the kind of exit you will have,” Cain said.
No charges or traffic citations have been filed as investigators remained on the scene to determine the cause of the crash.
Seau’s 25-year-old live-in girlfriend told authorities that Seau assaulted her during an argument Sunday night at his Oceanside home, according to Oceanside police. She appeared to have minor injuries and did not require medical treatment.
Seau was arrested outside his home about two hours after police arrived. He wasn’t home when authorities arrived but they asked him to return when he called his girlfriend.
Seau posted bail and was released from the San Diego County jail in Vista.
"At this point we think he’s fine but we really don’t have any comment," said Richard Doan, who answered the cell phone of Bette Hoffman, who works for Seau’s foundation. "There are no injuries but he seems to be a little shaken up."
Hospital spokeswoman Lisa Ohmstede declined to comment on Seau’s condition.
The 12-time Pro Bowl selection left football in January for the second time in a career that spanned 20 years and three NFL franchises.
Seau, the fifth overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft, spent 13 seasons with the San Diego Chargers, building a reputation as one of the most feared linebackers in the game.
Seau’s play with the Chargers earned him a roster spot on the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team.
The former University of Southern California standout announced in January that he had played his final game, but has not yet officially retired from the NFL.