Cocaine bust third run-in in 18 months; other charges dropped

by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Colt Lyerla wants to enter a drug treatment program and continue his football career.Colt Lyerla’s off-field behavior was causing problems for the ex-Duck long before he was arrested for cocaine possession in Eugene on Oct. 23.

Lyerla, a former star Hillsboro high school football player, has agreed to enter a drug treatment program in hopes of having the charges against him dismissed. He still hopes to be drafted into the NFL next year after resigning from the University of Oregon football team and dropping out of school on Oct. 6.

But the drug bust was at least the third time Lyerla has been investigated by police in the past 18 months. Charges were not filed against him the first two times after the alleged victims declined to take action.

Lyerla was first investigated on April 27, 2012, for pushing three men to the sidewalk on a Eugene street for no apparent reason. The three told police that Lyerla appeared to be drunk or stoned during the altercation. According to a Eugene Police Department report, they originally wanted Lyerla arrested for physical harassment. They changed their minds and stopped cooperating with police a few days later.

The second time occurred on July 5, 2012, in Hillsboro, according to a Hillsboro Police Department report. The report says police arrested Lyerla after he hit someone in the head with a stool at a party on Larson Road. According to witnesses, Lyerla came to the party upset that an ex-girlfriend was there and started fighting with some of the party guests.

Lyerla fled before police arrived, but was tracked down and handcuffed at gunpoint. He was released after the victim at the party refused to press charges. Lyerla was cited for being a minor in possession of alcohol, however.

Lyerla left the Ducks in early October for what he called personal reasons.

Lyerla had a problematic season before quitting the Ducks. He missed the game with Tennessee, reportedly because of an illness. He was suspended and missed the game against Colorado for violating unspecified team rules. Coach Mark Helfrich would only describe the reason for the suspension as “circumstances.”

According to Eugene police records, drug officers conducted another investigation and saw Lyerla inhaling a white powder in a parked car. When approached, he admitted it was cocaine.

Lyerla did not enter a plea when he was arraigned on the drug charges on Oct. 24. They will be dropped if he is accepted into the drug treatment program and completes it.

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