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Aldon Smith: Witnesses say his truck left a road and hit a tree in a yard.

49ers' Aldon Smith arrested for another DUI but will play Sunday

Published: Saturday, Sep. 21, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C

SANTA CLARA – Linebacker Aldon Smith, who spent three hours in a local jail Friday morning, was back at 49ers practice by midday and will play Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, coach Jim Harbaugh said.

Smith was arrested at 7:02 a.m. in a San Jose neighborhood after the pickup truck he was driving went off the road, into a residential front yard and struck a tree, police said. Neighbors reported that Smith continued to press on the accelerator after the crash, causing the tires to spin and smoke. He was not injured, but neighbors said they suspected he had fallen asleep.

Smith, who will turn 24 on Wednesday, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and marijuana possession and taken to the Santa Clara County main jail. He posted a $5,250 bail and by 12:40 p.m. was on the 49ers' practice field with teammates.

"I expect Aldon, like today, he'll be back to work and playing on Sunday," Harbaugh said after practice.

Smith avoided reporters during the open locker-room session.

Harbaugh spent his media session parrying reporters' questions about how the team will deal with Smith's latest incident.

The All-Pro linebacker had another DUI arrest in January 2012 in Miami Beach, a charge that was reduced to reckless driving.

Later that year, a raucous party at his house in Santa Clara County ended with him being stabbed and two others shot. He is facing a civil lawsuit from one shooting victim and possible criminal charges after assault rifles were found in the home. The rifles were purchased legally in Arizona, but Smith failed to modify them to adhere to California's stricter laws.

Last September, Smith was involved in a rollover accident near his home. The CHP said he was not the driver. Smith later said a deer jumped in front of the vehicle.

The 49ers seemed to set a precedent last year after backup defensive end Demarcus Dobbs was arrested for DUI and marijuana possession the Friday before a game in November. Dobbs did not join the team in St. Louis that weekend.

Asked why Smith's case was treated differently, Harbaugh said, "Demarcus wasn't here last year when we left for St. Louis." Pressed on why, if that were true, Dobbs couldn't have taken a later flight, Harbaugh said, "Like I said, I'm not going into specifics and the dissecting of what the policies are. If you want to question those, so be it."

The NFL will review Smith's latest incident. Because it is his second arrest, he is subject to a suspension, which could come next season. Dobbs, for example, served a one-game suspension for last year's arrest in Week 1 this season.

"There will be consequences," Harbaugh said. "There always is, good or bad; we all have consequences."

Teammates, meanwhile, downplayed the arrest.

Defensive end Ray McDonald, who lives in the neighborhood where the crash occurred, confirmed he "rolled by" the scene to check on Smith.

"I don't know what happened," McDonald said. "I'm sure things will work out in the right way. I can't comment because I don't know much myself."

Defensive end Justin Smith, one of the 49ers' team captains, said he wasn't concerned.

"He's got his head on straight," Justin Smith said of Aldon Smith. "Sometimes stuff just happens. If everybody went looking through everybody's past, you'd find some stuff on everybody, even the people asking the questions. So, not concerned."

Like most NFL teams, the 49ers have a program in place that allows players to get rides home when they are unfit to drive. Earlier this month, the league struck a partnership with the on-demand car service Uber – popular in the Bay Area – to allow players to request rides.

Aldon Smith's latest DUI is the team's fifth since 2010. Still, tight end Vernon Davis said DUI prevention is a common topic at the team facility.

"That's the first thing we talk about when we get here is DUIs and things of that nature," Davis said. "Some guys listen; some guys don't. I mean, there's nothing I can do about it. I can't go up to anyone in the locker room and say, 'Hey, listen. You better not drink and drive.' You just can't do that. There's a saying: You can take the horse to the water, but you can't make him drink it."

Read Matthew Barrows' blogs at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers and listen for his reports Tuesdays on ESPN Radio 1320.

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MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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