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Driesell Faces Grand Jury Investigation : Maryland Coach's Actions After Bias Death Under Scrutiny

July 19, 1986|From Times Wire Services

A grand jury will investigate whether Maryland basketball coach Lefty Driesell obstructed justice after the death of Len Bias by instructing players to throw away evidence, law enforcement officials said Friday.

Arthur Marshall, the Prince George's County State's Attorney who is directing the grand jury investigation, said Driesell and Robert Wagner, Bias' coach at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, Md., were considered targets of potential criminal charges for their actions in the hours after Bias' cocaine-induced death.

"What we have is that people have told us there may be some kind of an obstruction of justice involved in the case," assistant state's attorney Jeff Harding said. "Whether or not it's going to be indictable is another question for the grand jury."

Marshall also said there is ample evidence for the grand jury to file formal charges against Brian Tribble for supplying the drug. Tribble is a former Maryland student and was a friend of Bias'.

A man who identified himself as Tribble called for an ambulance for Bias the morning that he died and told the emergency dispatcher: "You got to get him back to life," according to a tape of the telephone call.

"It's Len Bias and he just went to . . . and he needs some assistance," the phone caller said.

The emergency call was placed at 6:31 a.m. and lasted two minutes, according to WRC-TV in Washington.

In answer to Tribble's first statement, the dispatcher said: "What are you talking about?"

The caller said: "I'm talking about someone needs, Len Bias needs help."

The dispatcher replied: "It doesn't matter what his name is, what's the problem?"

The caller told the dispatcher Bias was "not breathing right," then gave the room number where he was in Washington Hall.

When the dispatcher asked: "What's your name?" the caller answered, "My name is Brian."

The dispatcher asked: "Brian what?"

The caller answered: "Tribble."

In another development, a university official told the Washington Post that seven Maryland basketball players--including Bias, three other starters on last year's team and Adrian Branch--charged $1,297.30 in long-distance calls to an assistant coach's telephone credit card during the 1984-85 season.

Gothard Lane, an assistant athletic director, said all seven players reimbursed the athletic department after they were asked. Bias reportedly charged $112.25.

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