Nastase arrested twice in a day, accused of drunken driving
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) Former tennis player Ilie Nastase was arrested twice in the space of six hours in his native Romania on Friday, first on suspicion of driving a car while drunk and refusing to take a breathalyzer test, and then for going through a red light on a scooter.
Nastase had a level of 0.55 mg of alcohol per liter of breath, Bucharest chief police traffic officer Victor Gilceava said, far enough over the legal limit to face a maximum five-year prison sentence.
Police initially stopped the 71-year-old Nastase around 4.45 a.m. while he was driving after a night out in the swanky Herestrau Park area of Bucharest. They said he was visibly drunk; he said he’d had three beers. Gilceava said officers had to block Nastase’s vehicle as he failed to stop.
Police declined to say who else was in the vehicle, but Romania TV reported he was with two women. Nastase, currently in divorce proceedings from his fourth wife, Brigitte, is known for loving the nightlife.
The former U.S. and French Open champion, and the bad boy of tennis in the 1970s and early 1980s, refused to take a breathalyzer and officers removed him from the vehicle and handcuffed him.
He was later released as police opened a criminal investigation against him for drunken driving and failing to take a breathalyzer test.
Police stopped him again about six hours later after he allegedly went through a red light on a scooter. His driving license had been suspended after the first incident.
Nastase claimed police manhandled him and threw him to the ground during his first arrest.
The second time he was apprehended, he was filmed mocking police officers and accusing them of acting like the communist-era militia. Nastase got in a police car and placed a police helmet on his head during that second arrest.
He was questioned for an hour and, when he left the police station, acknowledged that he probably made a mistake by refusing to take the breathalyzer test.
As he left the police station, a disheveled looking Nastase fought his way through a media scrum wearing sunglasses and a blue tracksuit top. He was bundled into a car.
The unpleasant news didn’t stop with his arrests. Later, Nastase posted a message on Facebook asking for privacy after his elder sister died Friday, an event he said ”shattered” him.
”In difficult times, you need support and understanding,” Nastase said.
Earlier, Nastase was fined 1,000 lei ($253) for being obstructive with police and his driving license was suspended for three months, but still faces charges of drunken driving and refusing a breathalyzer.
Once the top-ranked player in the world, Nastase was renowned for his unpredictable and temperamental behavior on the tennis court, with his outbursts earning him the nickname ”Nasty.”
He has retained those characteristics after retiring.
Last year, Nastase was fined and banned for foul-mouthed comments and misconduct as Romania’s Fed Cup captain after hurling abuse at British player Johanna Konta and the umpire during a Fed Cup match. He also made advances of a sexual nature toward Britain captain Anne Keothavong.
In a separate incident, he was also found guilty by the International Tennis Federation of making ”racially insensitive” remarks about the possible skin color of the then-unborn child of Serena Williams, who is married to internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian.