South Carolina prosecutors have dropped a cocaine charge against a Georgia Southern University quarterback arrested last week during a traffic stop.
Shai Werts, who starts for the team, was arrested July 31 after getting pulled over on suspicion of speeding in Saluda County.
Police charged him with cocaine possession after conducting roadside tests on a substance collected from the hood of Werts’ 2016 Dodge Charger, the Savannah Morning News reported.
The 21-year-old told officers the substance on his car was bird poop, according to dash camera footage posted online by Savannah news station WJCL.
“I swear to God, that’s bird doo-doo,” Werts told the officer.
“I swear to God, it’s not,” the officer said. “I just tested it and it turned pink.”
Rick Hubbard, solicitor for the state’s 11th judicial circuit, said the decision to drop the charge against Werts was made before the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division informed his office that an analysis of the substance collected from the quarterback’s car proved not to be cocaine.
“Upon a thorough review of the report, the dash camera, and the body camera, Deputy Solicitor Al Eargle and I made the decision that the charge should be appropriately dismissed,” Hubbard said in a statement to AJC.com. “The charge lacks prosecutorial merit and the evidence is insufficient for the State to proceed.”
Werts was pulled over for speeding on Chappells Highway about 9 p.m, authorities said. He had just left his grandmother’s home in Clinton, South Carolina, he can be heard telling the officers.
He reportedly waited several minutes before pulling over, and called 911 to tell dispatchers he was taught to find a well-lit area before stopping for law enforcement.
“I play football, sir. I don’t do cocaine,” he told the police after they placed him under arrest. “That’s bird poop on the front of my hood.”
The Eagles’ quarterback was suspended from the team following his arrest and would have had to sit out in Southern’s Aug. 31 season opener against LSU.
In a statement released Friday, however, Georgia Southern Athletic Director Tom Kleinlein said Werts will face no further suspension or disciplinary action, adding the suspension he already completed will “adequately serve as discipline” for the speeding charge.
“I have worked with Shai on a daily basis for three years, and these charges do not reflect the the young man I have come to know,” Kleinlein’s statement read. “Shai has had our unwavering support throughout this entire process. We are glad to put this incident behind us and focus again on football and the upcoming academic semester.”
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