CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning was sued Wednesday over a weekend traffic crash in Florida that raised questions about whether he improperly left the scene.
The lawsuit seeking unspecified damages was filed on behalf of 21-year-old William Candelario, who suffered head injuries in the rollover crash early Sunday near Miami Beach. Candelario said he has little memory of what happened and his attorney said the lawsuit is aimed at finding answers.
"The question we have is how, why, would Mr. Mourning leave this accident?" said attorney Spencer Aronfeld. "We're not on a witch hunt trying to destroy one of South Florida's most respected and beloved celebrities. We're simply trying to get answers."
In a brief interview, Mourning said he came upon the crash scene but declined to say whether he struck one of the vehicles.
Sgt. Thomas Pikul, a Florida Highway Patrol spokesman, said investigators determined that Mourning's blue Porsche Panamera struck Candelario's Audi A4 a short time after the Audi had collided with a third vehicle.
"We've determined it was two separate crashes," Pikul said.
Mourning, currently the Heat's vice president for player programs and development, acknowledged leaving the scene. Investigators said he returned about 40 minutes later, in another car driven by his wife, Tracy.
"I left and came right back. Left and came back. There was no panic at all because I didn't do anything wrong. There was a current accident already in progress," the 41-year-old Mourning said.
It's against state law to be involved in an accident and leave the scene. Pikul said no charges had been filed as of midafternoon Wednesday and investigators planned to interview Mourning later in the day.
"I've been very cooperative with them," the former Heat all-star said.
Aronfeld said Candelario suffered a concussion and memory loss in the crash, which has left him unable to work at his job at a bookstore. Candelario, who said he does not drink or use illegal drugs, said he was driving home from an evening on South Beach when the crash occurred.
"I don't remember much. There's only bits and pieces," he said.Comment on this story
But Candelario said he overheard one of the state troopers identifying the 6-foot-10 Mourning, a Virginia native and Georgetown standout who is one of Miami's best-known sports figures. He and his wife have a high school named for them and they have held a fundraiser for President Barack Obama at their Coral Gables home. This week, Mourning is hosting the annual Zo's Summer Groove event to benefit disadvantaged youths.
"I said, 'You're Alonzo Mourning?' That's about it," Candelario said. "I'm not a follower of basketball."
AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this story.
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