Published: July 8, 2013 Updated 3 hours ago
By Laura Keeley — firstname.lastname@example.org
North Carolina basketball player P.J. Hairston received a speeding ticket May 13 while driving a car rented by an associate of Haydn “Fats” Thomas – the convicted felon who rented the SUV Hairston was driving when he was arrested in June – court documents and rental receipts show.
The car involved in the speeding ticket was rented by Catinia Farrington, the co-owner of Thomas’s Durham home, according to county tax records.
The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro from Hertz had been rented by Thomas before Farrington, rental receipts show. Combined, Farrington and Thomas had the car for 72 days, starting in March and ending in June, spending $5,717.47 during that time. The speeding ticket and connection to Thomas’ associate was first reported over the weekend by USA Today.
Thomas, 39, initially said he didn’t know Hairston or anyone at UNC but later said he knew some athletes through parties.
Thomas, who is awaiting trial on felony charges of possession and intent to sell a controlled substance (12 grams of marijuana), maintaining a dwelling used for keeping or selling a controlled substance, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, did not return a call for comment. Neither did Farrington.
Thomas’ felony conviction came in 2006 from a guilty plea to a felony charge of accessing computers. He has never served time in jail or prison, according to the Department of Public Safety.
Thomas’ name first surfaced when it was reported that he rented the SUV Hairston was driving at the time of his arrest. Hairston, 20, along with passengers Miykael Faulcon, 20, and Carlos Sanford, 23, was arrested June 5 at a license checkpoint in Durham. The three face misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession. The owner of a gun found outside the 2013 GMC Yukon Hairston was driving while arrested has not been identified. Durham Police have also not charged Hairston or either of his two passengers with possessing the 43 grams of marijuana found inside the car, which would be a felony.
When asked about possible discussions with UNC about Hairston, NCAA spokesperson Emily Potter replied in an email, “we cannot comment on current, pending or potential investigations.” UNC athletics spokesman Steve Kirschner reiterated that the school is gathering facts and not prepared to comment.
The rented Camaro Hairston was driving while cited for speeding in May was also cited by UNC police for two parking citations, school records show. The first ticket was issued April 15 for not having a valid permit and has not been paid. Thomas returned the car to Hertz at 8:31 p.m. that night, ending a rental period that began March 25.
The second ticket, also an unpaid $40 fine for not having a valid permit, was issued May 28, two weeks after Hairston’s speeding ticket. The car was rented to Farrington at that time. Her rental period lasted nearly two months, from April 25-June 17.
Keeley 919-829-4556; Twitter @laurakeeley