Reid could testify for son
Coach’s son faces civil suit in alleged road-rage incident
COURTHOUSE — Former Eagles head coach Andy Reid could be called to testify when his son’s civil trial in connection with an alleged road-rage incident gets underway, lawyers have hinted in Montgomery County court.
“Are you calling Andy Reid?” county Judge Thomas M. DelRicci asked a lawyer representing a Springfield, Delaware County, man who is suing Reid’s 29-year-old son, Britt, in connection with an alleged January 2007 heated encounter along a West Conshohocken roadway.
“We may your honor. We reserve the right to call him,” lawyer Steven M. Mezrow responded during a pretrial hearing, indicating at one point that he believed Andy Reid and his wife, Tammy, had been subpoenaed by his law office as potential witnesses at their son’s civil trial.
However, a lawyer representing the interests of the coach and his wife told the judge to his knowledge no sub-
poenas had been issued to the Reids. He added that with the football season beginning Sunday, Andy Reid, who served as Eagles coach from 1999 to 2012 before becoming head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, won’t have much time available for any depositions.
“There’s been no discussion of flying to Kansas City for a deposition,” DelRicci addressed Mezrow. If Andy Reid is subpoenaed at this late date, it would likely postpone the start of Britt Reid’s trial, which is currently set to begin with jury selection on Sept. 19.
In the suit filed against Britt Reid, Larry Johnson, of Holt Lane, Springfield, Delaware County, is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, claiming he suffered physical and emotional pain, mental anguish, including posttraumatic stress disorder, and humiliation as a result of Britt Reid’s conduct, which the suit alleges included brandishing and pointing a handgun at Johnson. Andy and Tammy Reid are not parties to the suit.
In pretrial court documents, Mezrow and fellow lawyer Michael O. Pansini, who represent Johnson, listed “news articles” and a “VHS tape of Andy Reid press conference” as potential trial exhibits. The documents do not indicate the date of the press conference.
That prompted lawyers Edward J. McGinn and David S. Wolf, who represent Britt Reid, to ask DelRicci to prevent Mezrow from presenting newspaper articles, news videos and a videotape of the press conference as evidence at Britt Reid’s trial, arguing such exhibits are inadmissible hearsay evidence and that statements and assertions made in news articles and the press conference are “irrelevant and unfairly prejudicial.”
“Here, the statements which will be offered are out-of-court statements and assertions by a newscaster, which are being offered for the truth,” McGinn and Wolf wrote in court papers. “Any comments and assertions made by the authors of the news articles are hearsay. Any comments and assertions made by Andy Reid during a press conference are hearsay. Any comments and assertions made by the media at the press conference with Andy Reid are hearsay.”
When the judge sought an offer of proof about the relevance of the press conference footage, Mezrow suggested he might need the videotape to impeach any testimony Andy Reid might provide if he’s called to testify at his son’s civil trial.
DelRicci didn’t indicate when he would rule on the matter as well as other pretrial issues.
Lawyers for Britt Reid, formerly of Villanova, also have asked the judge to preclude from trial any evidence that drugs were found in Britt Reid’s vehicle by the police on the date of the incident and any evidence about prior drug or alcohol use by Reid. The defense also wants to preclude from trial evidence regarding any weapons or ammunition purchased or possessed by Britt Reid, “other than the handgun at issue,” according to court papers and testimony.
The lawsuit originally was filed in Philadelphia. However, in 2009, a Philadelphia judge moved the case to Montgomery County after Reid’s lawyers raised the issue of improper venue. Britt Reid did not attend the pretrial hearing.
Johnson, according to his suit, was operating a Ford pickup truck along Route 23 in West Conshohocken on Jan. 30, 2007, on his way to a Home Depot to get supplies for work when he encountered Britt Reid, who allegedly got out of a black GMC Denali and “engaged in a verbal altercation.” Reid, the suit alleged, returned to his vehicle, reached inside and pulled out a silver .45-caliber handgun and pointed it at Johnson’s face and then smiled.
Reid’s conduct placed Johnson “in fear of immediate serious bodily injury and death” and Johnson believed “that he was about to die,” the suit alleged.
Britt Reid, the suit alleged, lied to investigators about the incident, claiming he had pulled out a flashlight and not a handgun, and made “false, crude, degrading and defamatory statements” about Johnson that harmed Johnson’s reputation and character.
In July, Britt Reid’s lawyers filed a pretrial statement in which they contended, “There was no physical contact between the parties or physical injury sustained by the plaintiff.” Defense lawyers argued Reid “denied pointing the gun toward Mr. Johnson,” referring to previous testimony during which Reid allegedly stated, “The gun barrel was facing to the left and up.” In court papers, defense lawyers argued the handgun displayed by Reid was unloaded.
The trial, once it begins, is expected to last four to five days.
Britt Reid, according to documents filed in July by his lawyers, currently resides and works in Kansas City.
“He works as an assistant coach for the Kansas City Chiefs football team,” McGinn and Wolf wrote in papers in which they had requested a trial date during the “bye week” of Oct. 6.
Britt Reid also faced criminal charges in connection with the West Conshohocken incident. In November 2007, Reid, then 22, was sentenced to eight to 23 months in jail, to be followed by four years’ probation, after he pleaded guilty to charges of simple assault, possessing an instrument of crime, firearms not to be carried without a license and drug possession. At that time, sentencing Judge Steven T. O’Neill told Reid he could apply for acceptance into the county’s drug treatment court program after serving five months behind bars.
Britt Reid also pleaded guilty to DUI and drugrelated charges stemming from an Aug. 23, 2007, incident during which he crashed a vehicle into a shopping cart at the Metroplex shopping cen- ter along Chemical Road in Plymouth Township. Authorities alleged they found prescription drugs in Reid’s system that impaired his ability to drive.
After serving a stint in jail, Reid was accepted into the Montgomery County Drug Treatment Court program in February 2008. In June 2009, Reid, then 24, graduated from the program, presided over by Judge O’Neill, after successfully completing a 15-month treatment plan that included random drug testing and group and individual counseling.
On the same day as Britt Reid’s alleged roadrage incident, his older brother, Garrett, was arrested in connection with a drug-fueled, twovehicle crash at Germantown Pike and Arch Road in Plymouth. Garrett Reid pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of heroin in connection with the crash. In August, 2012, Garrett Reid died from an accidental heroin overdose during Eagles training camp at Lehigh University. He was 29.
Follow Carl Hessler Jr. on Twitter @ MontcoCourtNews
Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid addresses the media during a news conference at NFL football training camp in 2012.
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