Former Steeler charged with Wrightsville-area DUIs

Liz Evans Scolforo
  • Wrightsville native Jon Witman was fullback for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1996 to 2001.
  • He's been charged with DUI twice since February; trial on the first DUI is scheduled for Thursday.

The substance-abuse struggles of former Pittsburgh Steeler — and York County native — Jon Witman are no secret.

In December, he and his wife spoke with USA Today about his addiction to painkillers and methadone; his time in detox, rehab and a halfway house; and the pain he still suffers from back and ankle surgeries. Witman said he was suicidal before getting sober, USA Today reported at the time.

Jon Witman
(Associated Press photo)

But it appears the former fullback's struggles aren't over.

Since February, he has twice been charged in York County with driving under the influence. He is scheduled to have a nonjury bench trial Thursday on the first of the two DUIs, according to court records.

Witman's attorney, Chris Ferro, declined comment until after Thursday's trial and said his client isn't making any public statements at this point.

Lower Windsor Township Police filed a DUI charge against Witman for a traffic incident on Abels Road near Circle Drive in Wrightsville about 5:20 p.m. Feb. 4, according to court records.

Struck guard rail: Police Chief Tim Caldwell said Witman's vehicle hit a guard rail and became stuck on it.

Lower Windsor Township Police Cpl. James Thomas was on his way home from work when he drove past the crash scene and alerted on-duty Patrolman Kevin Leach, who responded to the scene and investigated, Caldwell said.

Witman, 44, of Woodsview Lane in Hellam Township, wasn't seriously hurt, the chief said.

A blood test found the opiate morphine and the muscle relaxant carisoprodol in Witman's system, court documents state.

On Thursday, it will be up to presiding Common Pleas Judge Richard K. Renn to determine whether Witman is guilty.

Second DUI: On the night of Sept. 10, Witman's wife called 911 to report that he was intoxicated and had crashed his vehicle into a pole or a tree, according to charging documents.

Hellam Township Police Sgt. Drew Heistand responded and found the front of Witman's Dodge Ram smashed in, documents state.

"It appeared he hit an evergreen tree very hard," the sergeant wrote in charging documents. "The right rear tire was also flat and appeared to be driven on for a distance."

Jon Witman

Heistand told The York Dispatch that bits of branches and pine needles were still stuck in the truck's grill. He also said he later located the tree that Witman struck.

The sergeant found Witman in the man's bedroom, lying on his bed, and asked him to come outside and explain what had happened.

Speech was 'slurred': He noted in charging documents that Witman's speech was slurred.

Witman said he was driving on Schmuck Road, missed the stop sign, traveled across Mount Pisgah Road and ran into a pine tree, documents state.

He subsequently failed field-sobriety tests, and his wife said she thought he was using methadone, according to charging documents.

Witman was arrested and consented to having his blood drawn for testing, documents state.

On Tuesday, Heistand said he has not yet learned the results of Witman's blood test.

A preliminary hearing on the matter is set for Oct. 26.

Wrightsville native: Witman was raised in Wrightsville and was a star football player for Eastern York High School.

He then played football at Penn State, and was on the Nittany Lions' 1994 Rose Bowl championship team.

Witman was drafted by the Steelers in 1996 and played for them for six seasons.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.