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The 51-year-old Petrino, who is married with four children, didn't mention he had a passenger during a news conference on Tuesday, two days after Sunday's accident, and a school statement that day quoted Petrino's family as saying "no other individuals" were involved. Petrino said then that he had spent Sunday with his wife, Becky, at a lake and was going for an evening ride. His only mention of Dorrell was vague, and without identification.
"When I came out of the ditch, there was a lady there that had flagged down a car," Petrino said Tuesday, nursing four broken ribs and wearing a neck brace to support a cracked neck vertebra. "The guy that was in the passenger's seat said, 'Get in, we'll just take you right to the hospital instead of waiting,' and so I got in the car and they headed toward Fayetteville."
In Thursday's statement, Petrino apologized and acknowledged that he had kept quiet about Dorrell.
"I have been in constant pain, medicated and the circumstances involving the wreck have come out in bits and pieces. That said, I certainly had a concern about Jessica Dorrell's name being revealed," he said. "In hindsight, I showed a serious mistake in judgment when I chose not to be more specific about those details. Today, I've acknowledged this previous inappropriate relationship with my family and those within the athletic department administration."
Dorrell, who did not return a call seeking comment, was hired March 28 by Petrino as the student-athlete development coordinator after serving as a fundraiser with the Razorback Foundation. She is in charge of organizing the recruiting process for the football team, including initial eligibility for each incoming player.
Long said he had not decided whether to suspend Dorrell.
Petrino signed a new seven-year contract in December 2010 after completing his third regular season at Arkansas. The contract, which was for an average of $3.53 million annually.
The police report said Petrino was riding with Dorrell when he lost control of his motorcycle. Dorrell said in the report that she wasn't sure what caused the accident, during which Petrino was unable to maneuver a turn and laid the motorcycle down on its left side while sliding off a rural, two-lane road about 20 miles southeast of Fayetteville.
Petrino said in the report that wind and sun caused the accident. The police report said Petrino and Dorrell were taken by a passer-by to an intersection in southeast Fayetteville, where a state police officer took Petrino to the hospital.
The police report said Dorrell wasn't taken to a hospital, and that she was dropped off at her vehicle, which was parked at the intersection. State police spokesman Bill Sadler said Petrino didn't try to hide Dorrell's part in the accident when questioned on Tuesday.
"Coach Petrino was as cooperative as anybody that we could ever hope to encounter following the traffic crash," Sadler said.
Petrino, who wasn't wearing a helmet, was hospitalized but had since returned to practice.
Arkansas has high expectations for next season, led by first-team All-Southeastern Conference quarterback Wilson. Also, Davis' return after missing all of last season with an ankle injury has only added to the high hopes.
How Petrino's misstep affects those hopes has yet to be seen. The next move is Long's.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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