Trooper called Petrino before report
The state trooper often assigned to protect Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino said he took a call from an unidentified woman to come get the injured coach and then fielded a call from the coach's wife as they were pulling into the hospital, according to a memo released Monday.
Arkansas State Police Capt. Lance King also said he called Petrino shortly before the police report that landed him in hot water was released to the public on Thursday.
Petrino called athletic director Jeff Long about 20 minutes after receiving that phone call, and he was put on paid leave later that night. Petrino, a married 51-year-old father of four, initially failed to disclose he had been riding with a female football program employee half his age when his motorcycle skidded off the road on April 1.
The Arkansas State Police said King didn't violate police policy or state law.
King said he called Petrino on April 1 to check on him after another trooper said Petrino's motorcycle had been involved in an accident.
"This message said, I don't even know if this is your number anymore, but your motorcycle has been involved in an accident and I wanted to call and check on you," King said in the memo, which was dated April 6 and sent to his superiors.
Two or three minutes later, King said, an unidentified female called him back and said Petrino had been in an accident. She said Petrino was headed to the emergency room, but asked King if he could meet them in a parking lot and take Petrino to the hospital.
Jessica DorrellView full sizeFormer Arkansas volleyball player and current Razorback Foundation fundraiser Jessica Dorrell. (Arkansas Athletics)
"I was then called again by the female caller who asked me where I was and I told her that I saw their car in a parking lot and I was seconds away," King said.
It wasn't immediately clear whether the woman was Jessica Dorrell, the 25-year-old female employee who was riding with Petrino, or someone else. When asked about the woman's identity, Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said he stood by King's statement.
"All I know is he stated it was an unknown female," Sadler said.
In the memo, King said he pulled up and saw a woman helping Petrino out of the vehicle. King then helped Petrino into his car and put his seatbelt on.
King said Petrino didn't smell like alcohol and there wasn't any sign he had been drinking.
"He was covered with scrapes and cuts, and had blood and had swelling around his face and head," King wrote. "He was complaining of neck trouble. He was hardly able to speak, only groaning."
They drove to the hospital, and Petrino's phone rang as King was pulling up to the door.
"He told me that it was Becky (Mrs. Petrino) calling," King wrote. "He handed the phone to me and I told her that Coach Petrino had been involved in a motorcycle wreck and was injured."
The medical staff took Petrino inside and his wife soon joined him.
At some point, King went home for supper, but returned to the hospital after an athletic trainer said Petrino was asking about him.
"He barely opened his eyes, then thanked me for taking him to the hospital and then fell back to sleep," King wrote.
Petrino's wife asked King who transported her husband to the hospital. King said he didn't know, but that he had given one of them his cellphone number and that they should call him the next day.
"She asked me to get their names so she could thank them for their help," King wrote.
The day after the crash, Petrino called King.
"Coach Petrino asked if passenger information was required, and I said that all we need to know is the passenger's name and address," King wrote.
King said he didn't ask the passenger's name and Petrino didn't ask him to keep her name off the report.
He checked with his supervisor and called to check in on Petrino the next day. King said he asked about Petrino's health and let him know the report would be released in several days.
On Thursday, King called Petrino about 2:50 p.m. to let him know the report would be released. Long, the school's athletic director, said Petrino called him about 3:12 p.m. Long announced later that night that he put Petrino on paid leave as he looks into what happened.
Petrino admitted to a "previous inappropriate relationship" in a statement last week. On Monday, a person familiar with the investigation confirmed that relationship was with Dorrell, the former Arkansas volleyball player with whom Petrino was riding with during his motorcycle crash on a rural two-land road southeast of Fayetteville.
The Arkansas State Police said King began working sideline assignments during the 2003 season to provide security for the Razorback football team and coach. During the past two seasons, he has worked pre-game and game-day assignments with the coach.
He said he has had a professional relationship with Petrino and hadn't met with him or his family socially.