Colts’ Robert Mathis arrested for OWI; police say sleeping aid rendered him unfit to drive


Robert Mathis

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CARMEL, Ind. --  Former Indianapolis Colts player Robert Mathis was arrested for OWI Tuesday morning after Carmel police determined he was unfit to drive after taking a sleeping aid.

According to the arrest report, Mathis was stopped in the area of Bishop Circle and Windemere Blvd in Carmel at 12:09 a.m. for traveling the wrong way on a one-way street and failure to signal a turn.

When the officer spoke with him, he noted Mathis' speech was slow and thick. The officer said Mathis "appeared lost and confused." At one point, Mathis stated he was on his way home but had no idea where he was. Mathis later said he has lived in his home for five years.

When Mathis was asked to get out of the vehicle, he dropped all the items "that he appeared to have forgotten were on his lap," the arrest report states. He had an unsteady balance and had to lean against the vehicle to steady himself.

When asked how much he had to drink that night, Mathis told one officer he had a shot of Cognac and had taken a sleeping aid. He later told another officer he had two shots of Crown Royal and had taken a sleeping aid around 10 p.m.

Police say Mathis’ BAC was .052, which is below Indiana’s legal limit of .08. However, in accordance with Indiana law, officers can arrest someone with a lower blood alcohol level if they believe the person is too impaired to drive. Officers determined it was not safe for Mathis to be behind the wheel, and they arrested him. He was too large to fit in one officer's vehicle, so he was transported by a different officer.

Mathis' wife came to get the vehicle as well as the dogs he was traveling with.

Nancy S. Heck, spokeswoman for the City of Carmel, said that the BAC isn't the only determination in making an OWI arrest.

"The blood alcohol content (BAC) reported at the time of Mathis’ arrest was .052. This reading, combined with other factors about Mathis’ level of impairment found during the officer’s evaluation and testing, lead the officer to make the decision that it was not safe for Mathis to continue operating a vehicle," she said.

Police told him at the station they wanted to run additional tests because his BAC was low. Mathis agreed and officers administered a drug recognition expert (DRE) test. Police concluded he was unable to operate a vehicle safely because of a CNS depressant, such as the sleeping aid he admitted to taking.

Mathis, 36, was drafted by the Colts in 2003, and he spent 13 seasons with the team. He retired as a player last year from the NFL, but the Colts added him to the coaching staff in September as a pass rush consultant. He is also a FOX59 sports analyst.

The day before the arrest, Mathis posted an Instagram photo in memory of his mother, Emma Mathis, who passed away this time last year from cancer of the esophagus.

The Colts released the following statement regarding the arrest:

“We are aware of the incident involving Robert Mathis last night. We are in the process of gathering more information and have no further comment at this time.”

FOX59 has reached out to Mathis and his agent for a comment, but has not received a response yet.

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