Two past and one current Oregon State University football players apologized Tuesday for a late-night joyride in a golf cart that resulted in sentences of probation and community service.
Lyle Moevao, 23, a former starting quarterback for the Beavers; Keaton Kristick, 21, a former linebacker; and Brennan Olander, 22, a defensive tackle, each pleaded guilty Tuesday morning in Benton County Circuit Court to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized use of a vehicle.
The incident began on March 18, when an Oregon State Police trooper on patrol found a damaged black and orange golf cart in a handicapped parking spot at an apartment complex. The cart, which belongs to the OSU Athletics Department, had been reported stolen a few days earlier.
Witnesses from the apartment complex tentatively identified Moevao as the driver and said the cart had flipped over. When contacted by police, Moevao admitted that he’d been drinking, found the cart off-campus on the evening of March 17 and took it for a spin. Olander and Kristick jumped on as passengers.
The cart tipped over when Moevao took a sharp corner; Olander had been “rocking” back and forth at the time. Olander and Kristick also told police they had been riding in the cart, though Olander said he was very intoxicated and didn’t remember much about the evening.
All three initially were charged with felony unauthorized use of a vehicle.
At the plea and sentencing hearing Tuesday, Judge Locke Williams sentenced all three to 12 months bench probation. Each man was ordered to complete a different amount of community service: 40 hours for Moevao, 25 hours for Kristick and 65 hours for Olander.
Before Williams announced the sentences, Benton County Deputy District Attorney Mike Flinn recommended Olander be sentenced to work crew in addition to probation and community service, citing his past criminal history. Olander pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree theft by receiving in 2009 for riding a stolen adult tricycle. He completed the terms of his diversion, which included attending a theft impact class, and will not face additional legal consequences for that charge.
Also brought up in court was Olander’s 2006 guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of second-degree criminal mischief in Josephine County, for which he was sentenced to 18 months probation. The case originally was filed as felony first-degree criminal mischief.
“I just want to apologize for the incident that occurred,” Moevao told the court. He said that they were just having fun and meant no harm, but “it was obviously the wrong kind of fun.”
Kristick apologized to “the OSU community,” promising “this will never happen again.”
Olander said he was sorry to the university, the city of Corvallis and Beaver fans. He called it “an act of poor judgement.”
“You each know that you are in the public eye,” Williams said. “You are somewhat held to a higher standard.”
Williams said he believes the men are “good people,” noting a recent Gazette-Times story about Moevao.
“It’s important that you recognize, and I believe you do, your role in the community,” he said.
Williams warned Kristick, who has signed a free-agent contract with the San Francisco 49ers, that his behavior will continue to be scrutinized.
The judge expressed concern about Olander’s run-ins with the law.
“If you haven’t learned from those, learn from this,” he said, “or you will continue to find yourself in trouble.”
Steve Fenk, assistant athletic director for communications at OSU, said he couldn’t comment on any team discipline Olander might face, because coach Mike Riley is out of town.
The athletic department’s code of conduct mostly addresses felony charges, he said.
Fenk called the situation “disappointing,” but said Moevao and Kristick in particular have been “terrific ambassadors” for OSU football.
“They’ve been really very good role models for the program up until the last incident,” he said. “I know they’re still held in very high regard by their teammates and coaching staff.”