CHICAGO (AP) _ A lawsuit filed against Walter Payton accuses the former Chicago Bears running back of negligence in the accidential shooting last year of the manager of his suburban restaurant.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court, contends that Payton, 34, was in his office at Studebaker’s restaurant in suburban Schaumburg on April 13, 1988, handling a French-made 9mm semi-automatic pistol when it fired and hit Elmer Ray Hutson in the knee.
″He (Payton) was sitting there twirling a gun, talking to the man and the gun went off,″ said Hutson’s attorney, Philip Corboy. ″He certainly didn’t intend to do it.″
″However, there is every indication that he was careless and negligent in the manner in which he handled a loaded pistol in the presence of several people,″ Corboy said. ″It’s ... like a doctor leaving a sponge in your belly.″
Neither Payton nor his attorney, Paul Holmes, could be reached for immediate comment. The telephone wasn’t answered at Holmes’ office.
Payton was not charged in the shooting and he was licensed to own the gun.
At the time of the shooting, Payton told police he was taking the weapon home to add to his gun collection and did not know it was loaded.
The suit contends Payton was careless in failing to inspect the gun to determine if it was loaded, in directing it toward another person, and in failing to make sure the gun safety was secure.
Hutson, 28, of suburban Hoffman Estates, suffered ″a very serious injury″ and has undergone two operations to his left leg and knee since the shooting, and a third operation is being considered, Corboy said.
CULLOWHEE, N.C. (AP) - Greg Blatt, with four years of experience at Presbyterian, has been chosen to lead Western Carolina’s basketball program.
Blatt replaces Dave Possinger, who resigned under pressure last month.
″Coach Blatt brings a diversity of experience to this job,″ said Bobby Setzer, Western Carolina’s athletic director. ″He has coached on virtually every level of college basketball. He had an outstanding record as a recruiter as an assistant coach at four schools and compiled an impressive record over the last four years as the head coach at Presbyterian College.″
Blatt has an 89-35 record in his four years with the Blue Hose, who won at least 21 games each season. The Barnwell, S.C., native also has served as an assistant coach at the College of Charleston, the University of South Carolina, The Citadel and Jacksonville University.
″I look forward to the opportunity of rebuilding the program in a way that everyone involved can be proud of,″ said Blatt, who became the 11th head basketball coach at Western Carolina in 61 seasons and the fourth head coach in four years.
A 1970 graduate of the University of South Carolina, Blatt was a finalist for the job last year when Possinger was named to replace interim coach Herb Krusen.
Western Carolina has averaged 16 victories per season in its history, but averaged only 10 wins per season over the last three campaigns under coaches Steve Cottrell, Krusen and Possinger.