SAYREVILLE – Seton Hall basketball player Keon Lawrence was charged with drunken driving and driving with a suspended license after an early Monday morning crash on the Garden State Parkway in Sayreville, authorities said.
Lawrence, 22, was driving the wrong way in the southbound express lanes of the Parkway shortly before 3 a.m. when he struck an oncoming car, State Police spokesman Sgt. Steven Jones said.
Lawrence suffered injuries to his face in the crash and was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, according to Jones.
The driver of the other car, Kenneth Smith, 56, of Newark, suffered a broken leg and was in the intensive care unit at Robert Wood Johnson hospital, Jones said. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening, according to police.
“First and foremost, we are relieved and gratified that all of the parties involved were not more seriously injured,” said Seton Hall men’s basketball head coach Bobby Gonzalez. “We will respond accordingly when all of the facts of this matter have been collected. Effective immediately, Keon Lawrence has been suspended from the team indefinitely.”
The 6-foot-2, 177-pound Lawrence has two years of playing eligibility after transferring from the University of Missouri prior to the 2008-09 season. Per NCAA transfer regulations, he did not participate in games last season, but has practiced with the team since arriving at Seton Hall. He was expected to be a major contributor to the Pirates this season.
In his last season at Missouri, Lawrence played in all 32 games and averaged a team-high 29.2 minutes per game. He led the team in field goal attempts and averaged 11.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while making 20 starts.
A native of Newark, Lawrence topped the 20-point plateau twice in 2007-08 including a 25-point performance at Kansas, the 2008 national champions. At Weequahic High School, Lawrence was nicknamed the “Human Pogo Stick” for his acrobatic dunks and athleticism. A First Team All-State selection as a senior, he led the State of New Jersey with 31.2 points per game and became just the third player in Essex County history to record over 2,000 career points.
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