By Mike Martindale and Santiago Esparza/ The Detroit News
Bloomfield Township— Detroit Piston Ben Wallace is facing drunken driving and weapons offenses after being arrested over the weekend for erratic driving on Telegraph Road and Long Lake, according to police.
Wallace, 37, of Bloomfield Hills was pulled over about 3 a.m. Saturday behind the wheel of a 2007 Cadillac Escalade, township police said. Wallace was arrested without incident for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
A search of the vehicle found an unloaded pistol in a backpack in the passenger compartment, police said. At the police station, Wallace was given a breathalyzer test, which showed he had a blood alcohol count above the .08 level considered intoxicated. The reading was not released by police.
Wallace was arraigned Saturday in front of Bloomfield Hills 48th District Court Magistrate Judith Holtz on the OWI charge, a 93-day misdemeanor, and the unlawful carrying of a concealed weapon, a five-year felony. He was released to a family member on $5,000 personal bond after the arraignment and is scheduled back in court for a pre-exam conference at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 3. Michigan Secretary of State Records reveal no previous drunken driving offenses for Wallace.
His case has been assigned by blind draw to District Judge Kimberly Small, who made headlines this past July when she sentenced ESPN analyst and former NBA and Michigan basketball star Jalen Rose to 20 days in the Oakland County Jail and one year’s probation for a March drunken driving incident in which he drove off the road in West Bloomfield Township.
It was Rose’s first drunken driving offense, but Small frequently sentences first-time offenders to jail, citing national statistics and the deadly seriousness of motorists making the decision to get behind the wheel while drunk.
Wallace, known as “Big Ben,” is one of the most beloved Pistons to play at The Palace of Auburn Hills. But he averaged just 2.9 points and 6.5 rebounds in 22.9 minutes per game over 54 games last season.
NBA players are currently locked out, so Wallace won’t know whether Pistons president Joe Dumars sees him in the team’s future plans until they are no longer barred from communication under terms of the lockout.
Wallace told The News this past summer that after basketball, he wants to go to law school so that he can be the first friendly face a troubled youth sees when he or she is on the wrong side of the law.
Wallace won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award four times and is known as being a ferocious rebounder.The 6-foot-9-inch Wallace has played in more than 1,000 games and racked up more than 10,000 rebounds in his career.
In November 2004, Wallace fought with then-Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest, which led to other players getting involved and spilling over into the stands in what has become known as the “Basketbrawl.”
He came to the Pistons in 2000 from the Orlando Magic as part of the trade for Grant Hill. He played for Detroit until joining the Chicago Bulls in 2006 after signing a four-year, $60-million contract.
In 2008, he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers and in 2009 returned to the Pistons. He re-signed with the Pistons for $1.9 million annually for two years in 2010.