LENOIR CITY — Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray reached an agreement in court and avoided a guilty plea this afternoon concerning a Fourth of July boating incident.
Bray appeared briefly before Judge Rex Dale at Loudon County General Sessions Court and agreed to either make three public appearances at schools where he will promote boater safety or make a public service television commercial. He also lost his boat-driving rights for a year, must take a boating training course and pay court costs.
In exchange he did not plead guilty and if he follows the provisions of the agreement will have the record expunged on Feb. 13, 2013. He will not have to make a court appearance then.
It all stems from a July 4 Jet Ski incident on Tellico Lake.
According to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officer Dewayne Williams, Bray was driving a Jet Ski with a woman passenger when he was observed by Williams "hot dogging" with another Jet Ski. Williams explained the term "hot dogging" as "almost like playing chicken" on Jet Skis.
The other Jet Ski tipped over spilling the unidentified occupants into the water. Bray then sped near the swimmers "spraying them with water," according to Williams, who added "he was almost on top of them."
Jet Skis are supposed to operate at least 100 feet apart, Williams said.
"This all happened directly in front of me," said Williams of the incident. "That's what I couldn't believe."
He said he did not recognize Bray, but said Bray was "polite and nice" when he encountered them.
The charges included a Class A misdemeanor for reckless operation of a personal watercraft, and a Class C misdemeanor for failure to have a boating education certificate.
The Class A misdemeanor carries a possible $2,500 fine and six months in jail. Instead for that Bray will have to do either the three school engagements or the television ad, have his boating privileges suspended for a year and pay court costs. For the Class C misdemeanor he must attend two three-hour boating certification classes and obtain the certificate, and pay court costs.
Bray was earlier linked to a vandalism investigation stemming from incidents at his apartment complex last month. Bray agreed to pay for damages to a vehicle that was pelted by beer bottles and golf balls. A second individual who believed her car was damaged in retaliation for reporting the original vandalism declined to pursue the matter after the Landings Riverfront Apartments said it would cover her costs.
Knoxville police said Bray would not face charges over those incidents. Last week he said he made a "real stupid decision" that represented a "step back" in his goal of being a team leader.
Neither Bray nor his lawyer, Brian Nichols of Loudon, spoke after the hearing today. They did issue a statement that said Bray would cooperate with the decision and also pointing out that no alcohol was involved in the incident.
Nichols and Loudon County district attorney general Russell Johnson outlined terms of the agreement in a whispered conversation with the judge.