Jackson Pleads Guilty to Felony, Misdemeanor

By Loretta Hunt Jan 8, 2009
UFC star Quinton “Rampage” Jackson pleaded guilty on Thursday to reduced charges of one felony count of evading a peace officer and driving against traffic and one misdemeanor count of driving recklessly at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana, Calif. Jackson was arrested on July 15 for a much publicized vehicular chase with authorities through the streets and sidewalks of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, Calif.

The former light heavyweight champion will be sentenced on Jan. 7, 2010, according to a press release from the Orange County’s District Attorney’s Office.

“Based on the negotiated plea agreement, the defendant could receive up to six months in jail and probation at his sentencing,” read the release. “Prior to sentencing, Jackson is required to complete 200 hours of community service, attend mental health therapy, pay restitution, and comply with other terms and conditions.”

Orange County District Attorney spokesperson Farrah Emami told Sherdog.com that the additional terms could include restrictions on alcohol use and submitting to court-ordered drug testing. Jackson was not under the influence of controlled substances at the time of the incident, while numerous medical professionals diagnosed the fighter with delirium while driving, noted Thursday's release.

"If he complies with all the terms and conditions within the year, the felony charge may be dropped," said Emami. "At that time, the judge will have the discretion to still sentence him to probation or up to a maximum of six months."

Jackson, 30, originally pleaded not guilty on Aug. 29 to two felony and four misdemeanor counts stemming from the July 15 incident. If convicted, Jackson faced a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

Jackson was accused of sideswiping and causing damage to two vehicles after he drove up on the curb with his raised Ford pick-up truck near State Route-55 and 19th St.

The Memphis native allegedly fled the initial collision scene and was flagged by a police officer, who observed the fighter driving on a flat tire and talking on his cell phone. Jackson refused the officer’s requests to pull over and continued to weave in and out of traffic, colliding with another vehicle.

In the subsequent chase, Jackson allegedly swerved onto the curb of the wrong side of the street into oncoming traffic, “narrowly missing a bus stop and forcing several pedestrians at the bus stop to run out of the way to avoid being hit,” according to an earlier press release.

Jackson ran multiple lights and nearly struck a pedestrian and two bicyclists as several marked police vehicles joined the pursuit.

Jackson was eventually taken into custody in Newport Beach outside a friend’s house, and bailed out the same day. At the requests of friends, Jackson was placed under a 72-hour mental observation at a local hospital the day after his arrest and was later released.

Jackson rallied his professional career at UFC 92 on Dec. 27 when he scored a first-round knockout over longtime rival Wanderlei Silva in their third meeting. Jackson toppled light heavyweight king Chuck Liddell at UFC 71 in May 2007 to earn the promotion’s title but was dethroned via a five-round decision by Forrest Griffin at UFC 86 last July, one week before his arrest.

This article was updated with additional information on Jackson's sentence at 6:02 p.m. EST.
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