Trooper to Ducks' Harris: 'Why smoking dope, doing 118 mph?'

Credit: GoDucks.com

Trooper to Ducks' Harris: 'Why smoking dope, doing 118 mph?'

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by KGW.com and AP Staff

kgw.com

Posted on August 17, 2011 at 6:27 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 17 at 1:34 PM

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EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon State Police on Tuesday released dashboard video of a traffic stop in June where Ducks star cornerback Cliff Harris was cited for speeding and driving with a suspended license.

Police said they clocked Harris driving at 118 mph on a suspended license in a rental car south of Albany around 4:30 a.m.

Harris was suspended indefinitely from the Ducks’ football program after the citations.

Raw video: Trooper pulls over Cliff Harris

An Oregon State Police audio recording contains the exchange between the trooper, Harris and other passengers. Harris had a suspended California driver's license at the time.

On the OSP audio, the trooper asks about the smell of marijuana in the car.

"We smoked it all," someone inside replied.

Then, the officer asked for consent to conduct a search and a person in the car said they did not have anything. The trooper never searched the vehicle and no drugs were seized.

"Why are you guys smoking dope driving home at 118 miles an hour?" the trooper asked.

"Just trying to get home," Harris replied.

"How much did you have to smoke this morning?" the trooper asked.

"Just a blunt."

Oregon head football coach Chip Kelly said he believes Harris, who told the officer in the dashboard video that the marijuana belonged to his cousin.

 "I saw (on video) Cliff go through a sobriety test that the OSP officer let him go on," Kelly said. "He wasn't charged with that."

QB Thomas in Car

Oregon State Police also revealed on Tuesday that star quarterback Darron Thomas was among the passengers in the car driven by Harris in June.

Thomas was not cited for anything during the stop.

Kelly said Tuesday that Thomas would not be disciplined. "I'm not punishing someone for being a passenger," Kelly said.

It's not the first time Thomas has been a passenger in a car driven by an Oregon player who has faced trouble.

Thomas was also with quarterback Jeremiah Masoli when he was pulled over last summer for a traffic infraction and marijuana was found in the car. Masoli, who had earlier pleaded guilty on an unrelated burglary charge, was dismissed from the team by Kelly.

UO player Terrell Irvin drove the car the rest of the way to Eugene after the traffic stop. No one was cited for drug or alcohol charges.

An employee, who does not work in the athletic department, rented the car for personal use, university spokesman Dave Williford said.

According to an email exchange between the employee and The Register-Guard newspaper, Harris and an unidentified football player asked her to extend the rental and compensated her for use of the car.

She was told that another player -- not Harris -- would be driving, she told the newspaper.

Harris excelled as a sophomore last season at cornerback and on special teams. He had six interceptions and set an Oregon record with four punt returns for touchdowns.

Known for his entertaining banter with reporters, Harris dubbed the BCS championship "The Natty." Oregon lost to Auburn in the title game in January after going 12-0 last season.

Kelly said the suspension for Harris includes sitting out a minimum of Oregon’s 2011 season opener vs. LSU.

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