Charges of marijuana possession and driving without a license against UNC basketball player P.J. Hairston have been dropped, according to a deputy clerk of Durham County Superior Court.
Hairston, who led the Carolina men’s basketball team in scoring last season, was arrested June 5 at a traffic checkpoint in Durham and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Hairston and two other men — Carlos Sanford, 23, and Miykael Faulcon, 20 — each were charged with possession of 41 grams of marijuana, according to Durham police, who also found a 9 mm handgun and an ammunition magazine containing nine rounds near the car. It was not certain who owned the gun, and no charges have been filed related to the gun.
Faulcon, a basketball player at Elizabeth City State University, was given six months of unsupervised probation on the same charges on Aug. 6, according to the Associated Press. The AP said Faulcon’s charge would be dropped if he completes 10 hours of community service and a drug assessment program.
Sanford’s case was continued to Oct. 29, the AP said.
Hairston, 20, who is considered an NBA prospect but announced last spring that he would return for his junior season, still could have issues related to the rented GMC Yukon he was driving. A month after the arrest, USA Today reported that the SUV was rented by a felon named Haydn Thomas, who at first told the newspaper he had no ties to Hairston and subsequently told The News & Observer of Raleigh that he knew UNC athletes, but he declined to elaborate. Thomas said he had loaned the vehicle to Faulcon.
The N&O subsequently reported that it had obtained an unredacted copy of the police report that said Thomas had rented the vehicle for Hairston, who planned to drive to Atlanta to see friends. That could be an impermissible benefit under NCAA rules. The paper also said Hairston and the driver of the car had stopped to switch places just before the traffic stop because Hairston could not find his driver’s license.
USA Today reported on July 6 that Hairston had a previous incident in a rental car — a citation for speeding on May 13 while driving a Chevrolet Camaro SS that was rented to a woman who shares a Durham address with Thomas.
The Camaro received two parking tickets for not having a valid permit on the UNC campus, The N&O reported. The first was on April 15 and the second on May 28, and neither had been paid by early July, the paper reported.
The N&O reported that Thomas has arrest records in five North Carolina counties, some involving drugs and guns. It said his 2006 felony conviction was for creating counterfeit checks to obtain property and services and for using a stolen credit card. Thomas did not serve jail time.
Hairston also could face punishment for the incident within the basketball program. The UNC athletics department and the basketball program reserved comment until July 15, when Coach Roy Williams ’72 issued a statement that read in part:
“I initially decided not to make a statement about PJ [Hairston] until the legal process had been finalized. I believe that is the fair way that everyone should be treated and is the way of our country.
“PJ and I have had several discussions already and he knows he has made serious mistakes and there will be serious consequences as a result. Certainly the idea of suspending PJ has been discussed. There are several options available in terms of discipline but we are going to wait until the process is complete to decide on those options.”