Former Pistons star Ben Wallace pleaded no contest Tuesday to leaving the scene of a one-car accident near his home in Virginia last month, according to WTVR, the CBS affiliate for Richmond, Va. Wallace was sentenced to one year in jail after turning himself in, although the judge suspended all but two days, which Wallace began serving Tuesday.
If you recall, we first learned of Wallace's situation last month when an SUV belonging to him and his wife crashed into the fence bordering the yard of a home in Henrico County, Va. The homeowner called police after hearing the accident and seeing a very tall man exit the SUV and leave the scene:
"It was dark, but it's clear from here I saw one person trying to fight to get out of the car," homeowner Silverio Acosta said in an interview last month. Once the man got out of the SUV, Acosta said he saw the man pick up and smash pieces of wood against the fence "because he was angry."
Acosta admitted at the time that he never saw the driver's face, and that he wouldn't have recognized Wallace since he's not a basketball fan. At the risk of playing armchair attorney, the fact Wallace was never clearly identified as the man leaving the SUV may have played into his seemingly light sentence.
Wallace was previously arrested in 2011 for drunk driving and having unlawful concealed weapon, an incident which eventually resulted in Wallace pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges.
A four-time All-Star and four-time Defensive Player of the Year, Wallace spent nine of his 16 years in the NBA with the Pistons, including his last three before quietly walking away following the 2011-12 season. He graduated with a criminal justice degree from Virginia Union before entering the NBA, stating numerous times throughout his playing career that he hoped to attend law school and become a defense attorney after his playing career. From a 2010 interview with Yahoo's Marc Spears:
"That's my ultimate goal," Wallace said. "It's always been one of my dreams. I think I can argue a pretty good case. I think I can convince a couple of people to see things my way.
"I'm very serious about it. Very."
In all seriousness and without a hint of irony, I hope Wallace is able to put incidents like this behind him and resume pursuing that dream.