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Report: Paterno acknowledges part in traffic incident


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Report: Paterno acknowledges part in traffic incident

ESPN.com news services

Updated: October 11, 2007, 7:43 PM ET

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Showdown: Joe Pa

Already trying to run interference on several off-the-field incidents involving his players, Joe Paterno confirmed Wednesday that he, too, has run into some trouble.

The Penn State football coach acknowledged he had a verbal confrontation with a female driver last week following a near accident on campus. Paterno discussed the incident while addressing a crowd of more than 300 people at the Penn State Quarterback Club luncheon. The weekly gathering is not open to the media, but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, citing multiple sources who attended, gleaned details about the coach's exchange for a story it published Thursday.

It is not clear how the close call occurred. According to the Post-Gazette's report, Paterno told the luncheon he pulled his car over to the curb, shook his finger at the driver and warned her to, "Watch it."

"Be careful," Paterno said, according to the newspaper's report. "I have your license number, and I will call the police on you."

According to the Post-Gazette's sources, Paterno said a male passenger then walked up and chastised him, saying, "That's my wife you're talking to."

"That's your problem," Paterno reportedly replied.

The woman then snapped at Paterno. "I'm going to call the police on you," she said. Paterno reportedly told the woman to go ahead.

And she did just that.

Citing a university police report, the newspaper said the unidentified woman filed her claim the same day as the incident. She stated that "a male driver committed a traffic violation and acted in a disorderly manner at 12:09 p.m., along Bigler Road, near the Food Science Building."

Without mentioning Paterno by name, Penn State University police said Thursday that its investigation into an on-campus interaction between two drivers has been closed. No charges will be filed.

The incident adds to Penn State's list of off-the-field issues.

Senior running back Austin Scott will remain suspended for Saturday's game against No. 19 Wisconsin. Scott was disciplined the day before last Saturday's win over Iowa for violating a team rule. Paterno will not say what rule Scott had broken.

On Tuesday, Paterno said he was looking into the possibility that some Nittany Lions might have been involved in a fight last weekend.

"To what extent, to what degree, what happened, I'm not quite sure yet," Paterno said Tuesday during his weekly news conference.

Tyrone Parham, the assistant university police director, declined to comment on whether any football players were under investigation for any weekend incidents.

Also last weekend, two reserve freshmen -- punter Ryan Breen and tailback Joe Suhey -- were cited by police for underage drinking. Neither has seen game action this season.

The rash of players' legal woes comes about six months after authorities said several players were involved in a fight at an off-campus party in which two people were hurt and treated at a hospital. Ten players were disciplined by the university for their roles in the April 1 altercation.

Two of the players, safety Anthony Scirrotto and defensive lineman Chris Baker, are scheduled to stand trial in December on related criminal charges.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report

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