Originally created 02/10/00

Wesley charged with two misdemeanors in fatal Phills crash



CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte Hornets guard David Wesley has been served with two misdemeanor charges for allegedly racing Porches at over 100 mph with teammate Bobby Phills, who lost control and was killed.

"I accepted two citations for David in my office yesterday," attorney Ed Hinson said Wednesday.

Wesley was charged with misdemeanor speed competition and reckless driving for his alleged role in the accident near Charlotte Coliseum on Jan. 12. Phills was killed instantly in a head-on collision with another car.

Each charge is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Motorists convicted of speed competition also can lose their licenses for up to a year. If convicted, it is unlikely Wesley would go to jail, legal experts have said. But he could be fined and ordered to perform community service.

Wesley's initial appearance is scheduled March 6, but he will not be required to appear, Hinson said.

"This case will be treated like any other case," he said. "The magistrate will make sure he has a lawyer, and then he'll set a trial date."

Wesley was driving with a suspended license at the time of the crash.

After the accident, some lawyers said Wesley could be charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle, but they said prosecutors would have a hard time proving that Wesley's driving somehow contributed to the collision.

Phills, 30, survived by his wife Kendall and two children under age 4, signed a $32 million contract with the Hornets in 1997.

The Hornets were expected to retire Phills' No. 13 jersey at halftime of Wednesday night's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Phills' parents and widow will participate in the ceremony.

Hornets -- 103
Cavaliers -- 95

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- On the night they retired his best friend's jersey, David Wesley snapped out of his shooting slump to lead the Charlotte Hornets to a victory over road-weary Cleveland.

Wesley had 17 of his season-high 30 points after a halftime ceremony to honor co-captain Bobby Phills, who became the first Charlotte player to ever have his jersey retired.

Phills was killed Jan. 12 in a car crash that police said occurred while he was racing Wesley at speeds in excess of 100 mph.

Wesley, shooting 35 percent since the accident, made 9 of 17 against the Cavaliers, including a 4-for-7 showing after he fought back tears during the 10-minute halftime ceremony.

Charlotte's Eddie Jones, playing his final contest before starting at guard for the Eastern Conference in Sunday's NBA All-Star game, had 32 points and four steals.

Derrick Coleman added 21 points for the Hornets, who improved to 20-3 at home and 3-0 with their new lineup featuring 6-foot-8, 250-pound Anthony Mason at point guard.

Lamond Murray had 31 points, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Cavaliers from falling to 4-21 on the road, including losses in their last nine.

Cleveland made a run in the fourth quarter but was unable to overcome 19 turnovers that the Hornets converted into 25 points. Charlotte used a 10-2 surge in the closing minutes to send the Cavaliers to their eighth straight loss when they are held below 100 points.

Cleveland shot 52 percent in the first quarter but dipped to 32 percent in the second. The Cavaliers missed 8 of their last 11 field-goal attempts in the second quarter and their first eight in the third, clearing the way for Charlotte to build a 13-point lead.

After Jones hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to stretch Charlotte's lead to 80-66 early in the fourth, the closest the Cavaliers got was 88-85 on Shawn Kemp's short jumper with 2:34 remaining.

But Jones answered with a 21-footer, then stole the ball from Kemp, was fouled and hit two foul shots. Wesley added a steal and a pair of foul shots and Coleman had a fast-break dunk to make it 98-87 at the 1:04 mark.Notes: The Hornets improved to 17-0 at home when they lead at halftime and 14-0 at home when they hold opponents to fewer than 100 points. ... The Cavaliers are 0-8 on the road against Central Division opponents. ... Jones has scored at least 20 in seven consecutive contests. ... Cleveland's Bob Sura sat out his fourth consecutive game with a sprained toe.