You are probably already aware that J.R. Smith crashed an SUV over the weekend, injuring himself and leading to the death of his friend, Andre Bell. Both were thrown from the vehicle, Smith suffering relatively minor injuries, while Bell suffered a severe head injury, lapsed into a coma, and died on Monday.
Smith was ticketed at the time with failing to stop at a stop sign and improper passing. Now comes word that the prosecutors may bring additional charges.
I'm no law-talking-guy, but it's my understanding that if a death occurs as the result of unlawful behavior, prosecutors are free to bring manslaughter charges, in this case vehicular manslaughter. It's not a question of whether they can charge him with manslaughter - just whether they will. Results of Smith's toxicology test have not yet been made available, but if it turns out that he was drunk or high, they most certainly will charge him, and the offense and the potential consequences become significantly more severe.
Smith's current troubles brings to four the number of first round high school picks from the 2004 draft with significant issues: Shaun Livingston and Robert Swift have both suffered severe knee injuries, while Sebastian Telfair and now Smith have legal woes. Obviously, those are two different sets of problems, but it's arguable that David Stern's new age limit could be a positive factor for both. Livingston and Swift were both rail thin teenagers whose bodies broke down in the NBA. Smith and Telfair might have gotten into trouble with or without some college, but living the NBA life certainly didn't help matters.