Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Hawaii police are investigating UFC Hall of Famer B.J. Penn for driving under the influence after a Feb. 7 truck accident.
The accident occurred around 7:39 p.m. on a highway in Penn’s native Hilo. Police received multiple calls of a black Toyota Tacoma truck that was “speeding” and “losing control” and had flipped onto an embankment in front of a shopping mall. Police found Penn in the truck and took him to the hospital “for immediate care” that was “paramount for his safety,” read a statement from Hawai’i Police Department spokesperson Alan Richmond.
Big Island Now initially reported Penn’s accident and cited police who said Penn initially wasn’t given a blood-alcohol test because of current laws involving accidents. But the report also cited a Hawaii police captain who confirmed the fighter was given a blood test at the hospital where he was taken, and the results of that blood test triggered a DUI investigation.
The statement from the police confirmed the investigation, which it said was for “operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, consuming or possessing liquor while operating a motor vehicle and inattention to driving,” and added the results will be routed to the city prosecutor’s office “for screening and potential charging.”
Penn famliy rep Gary Levitt acknowledged Penn was in an accident and said the fighter was knocked out upon impact. But he said he had no knowledge of any active investigation and couldn’t dispute reports because he and the fighter hadn’t been contacted about one.
”No one has the facts yet, and from the facts we have looked at, the truck never flipped, there was not extensive damage on it that they say there was, and B.J. was, in fact, knocked out because the front airbag deployed,” Levitt said. “He was taken to the hospital and then a short time later, he was taken for scans because he was knocked out and he was going in and out. Then, they released him from the hospital.”
Levitt said he will forward photos of the incident that will disprove the police narrative of the crash.
Penn, 41, was released by the UFC in September after his involvement in a bar brawl where he was knocked unconscious. The brawl was the latest in a long string of incidents where the fighter has drawn the attention of authorities. UFC president Dana White promised Penn a final fight in the Octagon, but said the fighter needed to get his personal life together after footage of the brawl surfaced.
The UFC Hall of Famer is currently involved in a custody battle with the mother of his children, who in late 2018 filed a restraining order against him, alleging years of domestic abuse.
Penn’s last UFC appearance came this past May, when he lost a decision to Clay Guida at UFC 237. It was his seventh straight loss in a skid that ran over eight years.
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