SALT LAKE CITY — A University of Utah football player has pleaded guilty to throwing an object at a man who allegedly hurled racial slurs at him first.
Keven Christopher Dixon, 21, took a plea in abeyance on Monday to a charge of criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor. By entering into the plea deal, Dixon's charge will be dismissed if he has no further violations for one year, according to court records.
Dixon's odd case started Aug. 16. According to Salt Lake police, another man, James Donald Webster, 74, whose home is listed in court documents as being near 1700 East and 900 South, frequently drives along Guardsman Way near the University of Utah's football practice facility.
Webster has a history of being upset with football players who jaywalk on Guardsman Way, said Salt Lake police detective Greg Wilking.
On Aug. 16, police say Webster was driving along Guardsman again, near 770 South, when he came upon a pedestrian. He stopped his car, got out and said "that if the pedestrian jaywalked again, (he) would hit him with his car," according to the charges.
Later that same day, Webster drove by again and saw a different pedestrian. According to some witnesses, Webster may have even sped up and drove at the pedestrian once he saw him, Wilking said.
He allegedly "engaged in a verbal altercation" with that man and his friend as they got into their car."
"(Webster) yelled racial slurs at this individual through the car window," the charges state.
The two people in the car were Dixon and another football player, Scott Peck, according to Wilking. After they left the parking lot, they found themselves stopped at a light with Webster next to them. More words, including profanities were exchanged, prompting Dixon to throw a phone charger at Webster's vehicle, Wilking said, allegedly breaking his windshield.
A short chase ensued following that confrontation, he said. Wester called police shortly after.
Peck was cited for careless driving, Wilking said. Webster was charged in November with two counts of disorderly conduct, a class C misdemeanor. A warrant for his arrest was issued on Feb. 16, according to court records.
Dixon, a 6-foot-5, 290-pound junior from Buena Park, California, has yet to play in a game for the Utes. He redshirted in 2015 and saw duty on scout teams in 2016 and 2017. Dixon is considered to be in the mix for a backup role at left tackle this season.
Peck is no longer on the football team, having to retire for medical reasons after one season as a redshirt. The former offensive lineman remains on scholarship as a “medical non-counter” to complete his education.
Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham addressed the incident with Peck and Dixon at the time.
Contributing: Dirk Facer