CRYSTAL RIVER –
A former National Football League player for the Cleveland Browns, and a substitute teacher and coach at Weeki Wachee High School, was arrested on numerous drug and traffic charges Tuesday night, according to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office.
Ricky Feacher, 59, of Crystal River, was charged with fleeing or eluding law enforcement, possession of a controlled substance, possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, with a total bond of $11,000.
Feacher is a 1972 graduate of Hernando High School who was inducted into the school’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. Last year, Feacher was an assistant football coach at Weeki Wachee High School. WWHS athletic director and head football coach Mark Lee said he was aware of Feacher’s arrest.
A spokeswoman in the district’s human resources department said Feacher had recently been hired on as a paraprofessional at Eastside Elementary, and that Wednesday would have been his first day. Instead, effective Wednesday, the district terminated Feacher’s employment with the district.
Feacher’s coaching supplement was not related to his transfer to the para-position he was recently hired for at Eastside Elementary.
An arrest affidavit shows a Citrus County deputy was conducting traffic enforcement in a known high-drug traffic area near Northeast 11th Street and Northeast Eighth Avenue when the deputy saw a black SUV park in front of an apartment complex.
The driver, Feacher, never left the vehicle, but stayed parked for about two minutes before proceeding down the street and taking a left on Northeast 11th Street, not wearing a seat belt and talking on a cellphone, according to the report.
The deputy then turned around, pursuing Feacher with activated overhead emergency lights including his siren. Feacher continued driving, turning onto five streets, using his left turn signal for right turns and his right turn signal for left turns “in an apparent attempt to elude this deputy.”
Feacher also drove in the left lane while making right turns, and drove in the right lane while making left turns, not stopping for any stop signs with “complete disregard for the public,” the affidavit shows.
Feacher eventually stopped about a mile later at New Serenity Funeral Home at 713 NE Fifth Terrace, partially blocked from view by a white van belonging to the funeral home. The deputy got out of his car and ordered Feacher to step out, at which time Feacher was detained.
Another deputy arrived on scene to assist, and Feacher was searched and placed in the back of a patrol car. Feacher told the deputies he was aware that law enforcement was behind him, but had not stopped.
Another deputy arrived on scene with a dog named Zeus, who sniffed the outside of Feacher’s vehicle, which “alerted” the dog. A thorough search of Feacher’s vehicle was conducted, revealing a half-full bottle of Canadian Limited Whiskey inside the driver’s side door panel and an empty bottle of Crown Royal in the driver’s side seat.
Outside of the driver’s side door on the asphalt was the corner of a clear plastic baggie containing cocaine, and beside it were two white Marlboro cigarette packs crumpled up. Inside the cigarette packs was another small baggie containing marijuana ans a straw with cocaine residue on it.
Altogether, deputies found one bag with 1.8 grams of marijuana, another with 1.9 grams of marijuana, a bag with 0.2 grams of cocaine, another with 0.2 grams of cocaine, another with 0.9 grams of cocaine, and a bag with cocaine residue.
Feacher’s car was placed in a Citrus County evidence storage facility, due to it being placed under forfeiture. Feacher was also issued a criminal traffic citation for eluding law enforcement, a $166 fine for parking in a roadway, a $116 uniform traffic citation for not wearing a seatbelt, and another $166 traffic citation for having an open alcohol container in his vehicle.
Feacher played nine seasons in the NFL from 1976-84, primarily for the Cleveland Browns. Feacher also worked in management for the Browns, rising to director of player development following his retirement, until the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1996.
Feacher was hired as a substitute teacher with Hernando County School District on Feb. 16, 2012, and as of October 2012, still held the position.
Weeki Wachee High School Principal Troy LaBarbara took the day off, according to his assistant, and could not be reached for comment.