Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson can breathe a little bit easier today, after an Orange County judge struck down his felony conviction of evading police for the high-speed hijinks that ensued back in July 2008 in Newport Beach.
He’ll do his time via three years probation for misdemeanor reckless driving, instead.
In an interview with the Orange County Register, Jackson said, "I will never see that judge in a courtroom again. … I don’t see myself doing anything crazy again. … I want to be a positive role model."
Jackson, who appeared in court sporting his B.A. Baracus mohawk for his role in the upcoming "A-Team" movie, has completed more than 200 hours of community service for the stunt, including conducting seminars with young people and U.S. Marines.
In fact, the judge praised Jackson’s efforts, which he noted were more than the minimum requirements for community service.
"You have done extraordinarily well on this case," Judge Thomas Goethals said, "Congratulations."
While he was relieved for the judge’s decision, Jackson said he was even more grateful that he didn’t hurt anyone in the incident, which he says he remembers very little of.
On July 15, 2008, shortly after losing his light heavyweight title to challenger Forrest Griffin, Jackson drove his lifted Ford 350 pickup truck — complete with his picture and name decaled on the side — down Newport Boulevard, plowing into three vehicles and narrowly missing several pedestrians and bicyclists.
With several police units in pursuit, Jackson crossed over the center median, drove on the sidewalk while pedestrians dove for cover, and sped down the wrong side of Newport Boulevard, running multiple red lights. And he did it while talking on his cell phone.
Jackson later claimed he was in a deep depression, heavily sleep deprived and hadn’t consumed much of anything but energy drinks for days. He said he agrees with Judge Goethals that his life was out of control at the time, but has since gotten his life back together.
"I could have really hurt someone or hurt myself," he said. "I will never let something get me so down I would hurt myself or others."