Clemons hurt in ATV mishap at University President's home

Sunday, July 6th 2003, 12:00 am

By: News On 6

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- University of Missouri basketball player Ricky Clemons was in fair condition Sunday at a hospital with injuries he suffered when he crashed an all-terrain vehicle during a private Fourth of July party at the home of university President Elson Floyd, authorities said.

An attorney who represented Clemons earlier this year on a misdemeanor domestic assault charge involving a former girlfriend told the Columbia Missourian that Clemons had a severe concussion, punctured lung and broken ribs.

Clemons, 22, has been staying at Reality House, a work-release center in Columbia, while serving a 60-day sentence imposed June 13. He is permitted to leave from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays only to attend university classes and related activities and was not authorized to attend the party, an official of the center said.

A 5-foot-11 point guard, Clemons was suspended from the team for the 2003-2004 season after pleading guilty in April to the assault charge and a misdemeanor count of false imprisonment.

Clemons was injured about 10 p.m. Friday when he lost control of the ATV on a half-mile gravel driveway at Floyd's residence, a hilltop home known as Providence Point, Columbia Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Sapp said.

A passenger on the ATV, whom authorities identified only as a juvenile, walked back to the residence and asked that someone call an ambulance. Firefighters found Clemons face down in a ditch, conscious but complaining of injuries to multiple parts of his body, Sapp said.

Clemons was admitted to University Hospital in serious condition and improved by Saturday night to fair condition, the hospital's house manager said Sunday.

University of Missouri Police Capt. Brian Weimer said the cause of the crash was being investigated, but that alcohol was not suspected as a factor. Investigators had not questioned Clemons as of Saturday night.

In a statement issued Saturday, the university said Clemons had contacted Floyd's wife, Carmento Floyd, on Thursday "and was invited to come to Providence Point on Friday. The president and his wife had been asked by the MU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics to spend time with Ricky, and the Floyds had agreed to do so."

Clemons and "another guest" were riding the Floyds' ATV "when it tipped over," the university said.

University spokesman David Russell said Clemons arrived at the president's residence early Friday afternoon for the gathering, which no other university officials or student athletes attended. Russell described the juvenile on the ATV as a male acquaintance.

Michael Princivalli, security director at Reality House, said Clemons' absence from the center on Friday was unauthorized.

"I just know he wasn't where he was supposed to be," Princivalli told the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Russell said the Floyds were unaware that Clemons might have been violating the terms of his work-release.

Clemons signed out of the house Friday morning to attend a study group, Princivalli said.

"When we tried to verify where he was during the day -- like with all work-release -- we couldn't contact him," Princivalli said. "He never returned, and later that night someone called" Reality House to report that Clemons was in the hospital.

Princivalli said he has reported Clemons' absence to the court, which will investigate and decide whether to take any action.

In January, Clemons was arrested for choking a woman who had refused to watch a movie with him and was trying to leave his Columbia apartment. He pleaded guilty in April and was sentenced last month to 60 days in jail for the false imprisonment charge and two years of probation and a one-year suspended sentence for the assault.

Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Crane said that if the court determines Clemons violated the terms of his work release, he might not be facing additional jail time. Crane said since Clemons is still serving his 60-day sentence for false imprisonment, he's not yet on probation for assault.

In 32 starts last season, Clemons averaged 14.2 points -- third on the team -- and a team-best 3.8 assists. He shot 38 percent from the field, including 34 percent from 3-point range. Clemons led the Tigers with 49 steals. He struggled down the stretch with turnovers and shot just 10-of-47 from the floor in his last five games, including 2-of-15 in the Tigers' NCAA tournament loss to Marquette.


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