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NEWSWIRE

Chargers' Shawne Merriman is arrested

Female acquaintance accuses the linebacker of choking and restraining her.

September 07, 2009|Tony Perry | Staff and Wire Reports

San Diego Chargers star linebacker Shawne Merriman was arrested early Sunday on suspicion of battery and false imprisonment after a female acquaintance told sheriff's deputies he had choked and restrained her.

Deputies responded to a call at 3:45 a.m. from Tila Nguyen, also known as Tila Tequila. The 27-year-old model and reality TV actress said Merriman had assaulted her when she tried to leave his home in Poway, a suburb north of San Diego. Nguyen was taken to a hospital, where she was treated and released.

Merriman was arrested after Nguyen said she would sign a complaint, and he was later released on bail. Nguyen, a Singapore-born American, has appeared in magazines and as the star of her own show, "A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila," which ran for two seasons.

The 25-year-old Merriman, 6 feet 4 and 270 pounds, was suspended by the NFL for four games in 2006 after he tested positive for a banned substance. A three-time Pro Bowl selection, he sat out most of the 2008 season because of a knee injury.

Merriman and Nguyen had been at a downtown San Diego nightclub until after 1 a.m., authorities said, adding that alcohol was a factor in the incident.

Merriman was cooperative with deputies and did not resist arrest, officials said. Several people were at the home when deputies arrived and have been interviewed.

Jan Caldwell, spokeswoman for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, said that deputies did not see any physical injuries on Nguyen: "That's not to stay they weren't there, the deputies just didn't see any," Caldwell said.

By procedure, deputies are required to make an arrest when someone signs a citizen's arrest form, as Nguyen did.

-- Tony Perry

MOTOR RACING

Brown takes top spot in top fuel

Antron Brown raced to the No. 1 qualifying position in top fuel in the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Clermont, Ind., taking the top spot for the seventh time this season with a run of 3.835 seconds at 319.22 mph.

A two-time event winner in pro stock motorcycle, Brown will try to win for the first time in top fuel today at O'Reilly Raceway Park when he faces rookie Spencer Massey in the opening round.

Robert Hight, Mike Edwards and Matt Smith also will lead their categories into the eliminations in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.

Hight took his first top qualifying award in funny car at this race and the second of the season with his run of 4.082 at 309.20 in a Ford Mustang. Hight, who has won the event two of the last three years, will face Grant Downing in the first round.

Hight is one of three drivers, including defending series champion Cruz Pedregon and rookie Matt Hagan, who are locked in a tight battle to make the Countdown to 1, NHRA's playoffs. Following this event, the top 10 in each pro category will compete in the six-race championship playoffs, which begin Sept. 18 in Concord, N.C.

In pro stock, Edwards earned his 10th No. 1 effort of the season and first in the event with his run of 6.581 at 209.01 in a Pontiac GXP. Edwards will face Rickie Jones in the first round.

Smith claimed his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 16th overall in pro stock motorcycle, covering the quarter-mile distance in 6.918 at 192.38 on his Suzuki. Smith, a three-time Indy finalist and 2006 winner, will face Junior Pippin in the opening round.

SOCCER

Ghana qualifies for World Cup

Ghana became the first African nation to qualify for the 2010 World Cup after beating Sudan, 2-0, at Accra, Ghana.

Inter Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari and Chelsea's Michael Essien scored the goals on either side of the break that ensured Ghana would top Group D and clinch a spot in South Africa next June with two games to spare.

Ghana's victory, coupled with Mali's drawing 1-1 with Benin, enabled the Black Stars to become the seventh nation to join host South Africa in next year's 32-nation tournament.

Brazil qualified Saturday to also join the Netherlands, Japan, Australia, North Korea and South Korea.

ETC.

Pole vaulter dies in accident at practice

A college pole vaulter died after missing the landing pad during practice at UC San Diego's La Jolla campus.

The San Diego County medical examiner's office said 19-year-old Leon Roach landed head-first on concrete during a training jump Saturday.

A memorial service will be held this week in Huntington Beach, where Roach graduated from Marina High School.

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