Archive for Thursday, November 18, 1999

KU PLAYER SUSPENDED AFTER TACO BELL INCIDENT

November 18, 1999

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An 11-game starter on this year's KU football team faces charges related to an early-morning incident at a Lawrence fast-food restaurant.

Drop the chalupa?

An angry Kansas University football player got stuck Wednesday in the drive-through window at Taco Bell after he tried to crawl through it to get to food servers who forgot the chalupa, a taco-like product, in his take-out order.

Senior defensive end Dion Rayford, who is 6-foot-3 and weighs 260 pounds, was stuck in the 14-by-46-inch opening when police arrived, Lawrence Police Sgt. George Wheeler said.

Taco Bell employees gave Rayford, 24, the wrong order about 2 a.m. He left his car and tried to crawl through the window at the restaurant, 1408 W. 23rd.

Tiffany Holly-Campbell, Taco Bell night manager, and three employees retreated and "locked themselves in the office," said Taco Bell manager Tito Lopez.

Police arrested Rayford, and he was booked into the Douglas County Jail at 3:35 a.m. Formal charges of disorderly conduct, open container of alcohol and misdemeanor damage to property (less than $500) were read by Douglas County District Judge Paula Martin at Rayford's first appearance at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Martin entered a "not guilty" plea on behalf of Rayford because he was not represented by counsel. Rayford said he would hire his own attorney, but he wasn't sure who would represent him.

Martin released Rayford on his own recognizance after the court appearance, adding conditions suggested by Douglas County Assistant Dist. Atty. Mark Knight. Those conditions were that he not return to Taco Bell or contact any witnesses to the incident.

Martin cited Rayford's "lack of priors" and his "ties to the community," in releasing Rayford.

Rayford's next court appearance, at which Martin will set a trial date, is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Dec. 2.

Tuesday night, KU football coach Terry Allen announced that Rayford, a starter in all 11 Jayhawk football games this year, was suspended from Saturday's season finale against Iowa State.

"I'm disappointed for the young man, and frustrated as a coach to be put in the position to suspend someone from the final game of their career," Allen said. "But we can't tolerate that type of behavior in our program."

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