Vikings defensive back Jayron Kearse was sentenced to probation and community service Thursday after pleading guilty to driving drunk on a Minneapolis interstate in the middle of the night last fall with a loaded handgun in his car.
The 26-year-old native Floridian admitted in Hennepin County District Court to possessing a pistol in public without a permit, a gross misdemeanor, and misdemeanor fourth-degree driving while intoxicated.
His plea to the gun charge came under a stay of adjudication, which keeps the conviction off Kearse’s record if he remains law-abiding for a year while on probation. Three other misdemeanors were dismissed: possessing a gun while under the influence of alcohol, a second drunken driving count and careless driving.
The sentence from Judge Bev Benson also calls for 30 days in the workhouse to be set aside and for Kearse to perform two days of Sentencing to Service, which often means being part of a supervised work crew or doing some other community work involving physical labor.
He is also required to participate in and complete the NFL substance abuse program, participate in a victim impact panel, complete 50 of hours of community service at a nonprofit and forfeit the firearm. He’s also on the hook for a $900 fine plus $78 in court fees.
About 3:15 a.m. on Oct. 27, Kearse was stopped on Interstate 94 after a state trooper spotted him going around a construction barrier in his car.
Also in the car with Kearse were two passengers, one of them teammate and fellow defensive back Mike Hughes, who was intoxicated to the point of becoming ill during the traffic stop by a state trooper, according to the criminal complaint against Kearse.
Kearse was given a breath test at the jail about 90 minutes after being pulled over and it measured his blood-alcohol content at 0.10%, above the legal limit for driving in Minnesota.
The next day, Kearse apologized “for putting anybody in harm’s way.”
The trooper spotted a 9-millimeter Glock handgun on the right rear floorboard. It was loaded with 28 rounds and one in the chamber.
Kearse has been in the NFL for four seasons, all as a reserve with the Vikings. He is heading toward free agency, giving him the option to sign with another team.