Skip to comments.Cal football player run over twice; saves coed from attack
Posted on 06/29/2005 9:04:57 PM PDT by SmithL
BERKELEY - Mike Tepper rode along Telegraph Avenue, past the spot where he nearly was killed early Sunday morning.
He noticed that blood stains remained on the street along with the skid marks made by the Chrysler used to run him over.
Those were sobering reminders of a harrowing incident that left Tepper, a freshman offensive tackle for Cal's football team, with a broken fibula, severe ligament damage and a dislocated tibia in his right leg.
The injuries seemed minor considering that Tepper had been run over twice. Berkeley police arrested Berkeley's John Ray Smith and Oakland's Calvin Kelly and charged them with assault with a deadly weapon, leaving the scene of an accident and resisting arrest.
Tepper and a friend, Cal senior volleyball player Camille Leffall, were crossing Telegraph at Dwight Way about 1:15 a.m. when a Chrysler pulled alongside them. "The driver said, 'Hey, babe, what are you doing?' to Camille," said Tepper, who is 6-foot-6, 330 pounds. "She said she wasn't interested. We kept walking, but we only got about five feet when the car pulled up alongside us into the crosswalk. They kept hitting on her so I stepped in front and said, 'Hey, we're going to meet some friends. Can we just get by?' "
According to Tepper and police reports, as Tepper and Leffall tried to cross behind the car, the vehicle shifted into reverse and headed toward them. "I saw the driver had his hand on the steering column and I thought that this guy was going to punch it," Tepper said. "So I hit Camille across the chest and threw her."
Although Tepper managed to toss Leffall out of the direct path of the car, the front, passenger side of the vehicle blasted into them both. The severity of the impact was lessened for Leffall because Tepper already had sent her sprawling backward.
"We both got hit, but Mike got run over," said Leffall, who suffered cuts and scrapes and an injured back. "It's a good thing he pushed me out of the way, because my body couldn't have handled (being run over). I probably would have had my foot amputated.
"It was really nice of him. He was trying to protect me."
Tepper wasn't so fortunate. "The car hit me, and I hit the ground, and the tire ran over my leg," Tepper said. "I looked back to my right, and the guy puts it in drive and runs over me again."
Again, Tepper's right leg was crushed under the tire before the vehicle drove off.
Fortunately for Tepper, Berkeley Lt. Arnold Lui was a block away in an unmarked police car. He called to get Tepper assistance and took off after the Chrysler.
Lui said the driver of the Chrysler turned off his lights, but after several blocks hit another vehicle. The driver and passengers ran from the vehicle, but Berkeley police managed to apprehend four of them. Lui said he wasn't sure how many people were in the car. Leffall said there were five. Only Kelly and Smith face charges at this time.
Although Tepper won't be able to play football in 2005 because of his injuries and subsequent surgery, he said a quick response by Berkeley police saved his life. "It seemed like only about 10 seconds before two cop cars were there," said Tepper, who was recuperating at his apartment in Berkeley on Wednesday. "I was in shock, and Camille was crying. I looked at my hand, and the blood was like wet paint dripping off. Camille was saying, 'I'm so sorry.' I was telling her, 'You didn't run over me.'
"From what the police told me, the guys who ran me over were not drinking, not on drugs. They were sober. What kind of people would do something like that?"
Tepper was transported by ambulance to Alta Bates Hospital. "The police had put tourniquets around my calf, and when the ambulance got there, a nurse was pumping morphine into me. They all did an amazing job ... they saved my life. It took doctors at the hospital about an hour to stop the bleeding because it had ripped a blood vessel that leads directly to my heart."
On Tuesday morning, Tepper had surgery. "They put a plate and nine screws into me," Tepper said. "I can't put any pressure on my right leg for eight weeks. Then they will take out the screws and plate. In November, I should be able to begin jogging. It will be 2006 before I can start running again."
Leffall still is suffering from back pain and emotional trauma. "I have to walk past that intersection to go to school, and it is really, really tough," she said. "I don't think they found all the guys who were in the car, so I am constantly watching my back. This has overwhelmed me ... the emotions you have. We are getting hit by cars driven by crazed maniacs. It takes away your sense of security."
Tepper's father, Gus Tepper of Cypress, said he will keep checking with the Alameda County District Attorney's office to make sure Kelly and Smith are prosecuted. Court dates for the two have yet to be scheduled.
Although "outraged" by the incident, Gus Tepper said he isn't surprised that his son acted in such a heroic manner. "I am proud of him," Gus Tepper said. "This could have been a very ugly situation. But in other situations, Mike has done the same thing. At parties, if some guy is getting picked on, Mike will get in the way."
"To tell the truth, I don't know how I did it," Tepper said. "I just reacted.
"I credit that to Coach (Jeff) Tedford. He teaches us how to be football players with class. He just doesn't teach us football, he teaches us character ... how to be men."
eek, wouldn't want that landing on me. :\
Nice there was a MAN around. Good for him!
Neither did the chicken who ran over him (twice).
People who deserve to be executed, frankly.
Tepper's a hero.
this guy is 6-6 and 330 as A FRESHMAN.
Just wait until he has 3 or 4 years in a weight room....dude is going to be 380 and rock solid....
No car short of a tank will be able to take him out :)
""From what the police told me, the guys who ran me over were not drinking, not on drugs. They were sober. What kind of people would do something like that?"
Let me guess,...Could they be low-riding members of "disadvantaged minority" gang bangers? Do their cars bounce up and down? Do they wear real big pants and shirts? Lots of flashy, trashy jewelry? Are their hats on straight? Is their hair braided?
Got that right. Any pictures of perps and victims?
yeah I see quite a bit of baby fat on him....
give him a couple years with a weight coach and a college like Cal and it's weigth room
Why in the heck didn't they charge these thugs with attempted murder?
The people in this car coveted someone that they couldn't have, and they nearly killed her and her friend because of it. I'm glad they were caught, and may justice be served.
We should call his mother and tell her what a great job she did raising such a nice young man!
In their feeble brains they were "dissed" when Camille Leffall didn't just hop into the car and have sex with them.
A salute to Mr. Tepper. Gentlemen do still exist.
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