Report: Durham resident rented car Hairston was driving
Durham resident Hayden Patrick Thomas said that he rented the car that P.J. Hairston was driving when the North Carolina junior was arrested in June.
Thomas, 39, told USA Today on Wednesday that he rented the luxury SUV for himself and a friend, Miykael Faulcon, who was one of two passengers in the 2013 GMC Yukon when Hairston was stopped at a license checkpoint in Durham on June 5.
Hairston was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and driving without a license. A 9mm handgun and ammunition also were found outside the vehicle.
Thomas, who was charged $1,261.64 for a three-day rental, told the newspaper that he did not know Hairston, was not a UNC booster, was not connected to an agent and has not been interviewed by the school or the NCAA. He said he knew Faulcon, a rising sophomore at Elizabeth City State who played at Hillside High School, from partying at clubs.
Hairston could lose his college eligibility if it was found that he received a rental car because of his status as an athlete. The rising junior led the Tar Heels in scoring this past season and considered going to the NBA before deciding to return to school.
Hairston has had a rough summer since that decision. Besides the arrest, UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said the school is looking into any ties between Hairston and fellow Greensboro resident Rodney Blackstock, who was accused of giving $10,000 to an AAU coach in hopes of representing then-Kansas star Ben McLemore.
The UNC football team received a postseason ban for the 2012 season in part because athletes received impermissible benefits.
Hairston also pulled out of the U.S. team’s tryouts for the World University Games a week ago with what was described as a back injury. UNC has not released any information on that injury, though a source said that the lack of an update means that there isn’t serious damage. And on May 13, the 6-6 guard was stopped on Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd. and received a speeding ticket for going 54 in a 45 mph zone.
The team has not issued a statement since Hairston’s arrest. Last week, Williams said that “we are still waiting until all the information comes out” before commenting on Hairston’s status with the team.
Hairston is scheduled to appear in court in Durham County on Aug. 6 along with Faulcon and the third passenger, Durham resident Carlos Sanford. All three have been charged with possession of marijuana.
Thomas’s name surfaced on Sunday on the message board of Pack Pride, a website for N.C. State fans that previously uncovered former UNC football player Julius Peppers’s transcript, a document that indicated academic fraud in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies.
Thomas, whose first name also is spelled Haydn in some reports, said that the marijuana and the gun found outside the rental car were not his. He was arrested in December and charged with maintaining a dwelling for selling a controlled substance and possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a firearm by a convicted felon.
Thomas has served no prison time, according to N.C. Department of Correction records, but his criminal record dates to 2002. It includes a 2006 conviction in Wake County for obtaining property by false pretense, a felony, for which is got a suspended sentence.
He also was convicted in Durham in 2006 of accessing computers to defraud, a felony, and using and possessing drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor. In 2002, Thomas was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon and possession of stolen goods, both misdemeanors.
Staff writer Keith Upchurch contributed to this report.