ANDY REID'S children aren't supposed to drink alcohol, smoke or even sip hot tea. That's because the family practices the Mormon faith.
But now authorities say that Garrett Reid, the Eagles head coach's oldest son, was found with drug paraphernalia after he crashed his SUV into another car on Tuesday. And Britt Reid, the next oldest, allegedly displayed a gun to another driver in a road-rage incident the same day.
Neighbors and others who know the family expressed shock and disbelief over the reports.
"I was surprised to hear anything about guns or drugs," said neighbor Millie Weisz, who lives in the same Lower Merion Township cul-de-sac as the Reids, off Conshohocken State Road near Philadelphia Country Club. "They are very religious."
Tom Costa, whose son played football with Garrett and Britt at Harriton High School in Rosemont, said the reports were "so out of character."
"Britt having a gun? I find that so absurd it's absolutely funny," Costa said. "It's like the Amish with guns. It just doesn't make any sense. Britt - a gun? Not in a hundred years."
Yet it was that alleged gun-related incident on Tuesday and a car crash involving Garrett that made Andy and his wife, Tammy, cut short a California vacation to return home. Garrett, 23, and Britt, 21, have been living at home with their parents.
About noon yesterday, at the family home on Page Terrace, Andy Reid zoomed up his sloping driveway in his black Lincoln Navigator SUV, then rushed into a side door of his home, refusing to speak with reporters.
A half-hour later, Lower Merion Township police arrived at the two-story stucco-stone mini-mansion covered with ivy, and asked reporters not to go onto the property.
While the Reids are known for their religious faith, this was not Garrett's first dustup with the law.
On July 2, 2004, Garrett, then 21, was arrested in Lower Merion Township on charges of retail theft, according to law-enforcement sources, although the resolution of that case was unclear last night.
And on April 9, 2002, sources said, Garrett was arrested in Utah for possessing narcotics. He paid a $643 fine and was ordered to attend drug-counseling classes.
Garrett Reid attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, during the 2001-02 academic year, university spokesman Michael Smart said yesterday. Smart declined to say why Reid had left.
Garrett graduated from Harriton High in 2001 and Britt graduated in 2003, Lower Merion School District spokesman Doug Young said.
This is the way things unraveled on Tuesday:
About 2:25 p.m., after leaving classes at Montgomery County Community College, Garrett Reid crashed his black Jeep Liberty into a red Taurus on Germantown Pike near Arch Road, Plymouth Township Deputy Police Chief Joseph F. Lawrence said.
Garrett had been driving "at a high rate of speed when he failed to stop at the red light at Arch Road," the Plymouth Township Police Department said in a news release.
A law-enforcement source confirmed yesterday that when Plymouth Township Police arrived at the scene of the crash, hypodermic needles were found in Garrett's SUV. No drugs were in the vehicle, the source said.
Garrett was taken to Mercy Suburban Hospital for bloodwork for toxicology tests, Lawrence added.
It could take a week to 10 days to get the results of the blood tests back, said Lawrence. If the tests come back negative, Garrett could face nothing more than a traffic citation, he said. "We'll wait until all the results are back before we make any kind of decision," Lawrence said.
The Taurus driver, a 55-year-old Mount Carmel, Pa., woman, who police declined to identify, was taken by helicopter to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in critical condition, Lawrence said. Her head and neck injuries proved to be less serious than first thought, and she was released from the hospital several hours later, Lawrence said.
According to court records, Garrett Reid has a pile of speeding tickets. In 2001, he was stopped for driving 74 mph in a 55-mph zone in Chester County. And twice in 2004, he got tickets for driving more than 5 mph above the speed limit in Montgomery County.
Also on Tuesday, police took Britt Reid in for questioning when he showed up at the scene of his older brother's car accident, Lawrence said.
Police had reports that Britt allegedly had been involved in a road-rage incident in West Conshohocken earlier in the day. Britt allegedly got into a verbal altercation with another driver, who told police that Britt displayed a gun before driving away. The dispute never escalated into physical contact.
The other driver, a carpenter whose name police declined to release, copied Reid's tag numbers and alerted police.
Montgomery County First Assistant District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said no charges have been filed against either of the Reid brothers, pending receipt of detailed police reports.
After the crash, investigators filed search warrants for Reid's home and the SUV that Britt was driving, NBC 10 reported. Police recovered two weapons - one from the SUV and a platinum handgun from the Reid home, NBC 10 reported.
Law-enforcement sources said that neither Andy Reid nor his two oldest sons have permits to carry weapons or guns registered in their names.
Weisz, the neighbor in the cul-de-sac, said her 15- and 17-year-old sons hang out with the Reid children.
The Reids have five children. The three younger ones are daughters Crosby, 18, and Drew Ann, 16, and son Spencer, 14.
Weisz said it was her understanding that the Reid children, because of their strict Mormon faith, are not permitted to drink alcohol or anything with caffeine.
About Britt's alleged gun-waving, Weisz said: "Is there proof? Is this just one person's word against Britt's word? . . . Personally, I don't believe it.
"Anybody that has kids should understand and should not judge," she said. "You shouldn't judge other people when . . . you don't have all the facts."
Another neighbor, Joel Swartz, 57, said that guns and drug paraphernalia were "tremendously out of character" with what he knows of the two sons.
"They always go out of their way when they see me to shake my hand and to say hello, and they're very good neighbors, and it's a shame that there's such a to-do about this," Swartz said.
People who knew Garrett and Britt when they played football at Harriton also said they were not the type to get into trouble.
"I'm kind of upset about what I heard," Dan Fanning Sr., a former assistant football coach who had trained both sons, said yesterday from his Elkton, Md., home. "These are really very nice young men."
Fanning, who also worked as a discipline aide during the school day, said Garrett and Britt "had absolutely no discipline problems." If they were found horsing around with other students before football practice, they would stop once told to do so, he said.
Fanning's son, Dan Fanning Jr., had played football with the Reid boys.
"Garrett was the type of kid in practice who kept things loose, positive," the older Fanning said. "Britt was very serious about the game."
If Britt got into a road-rage incident, said Fanning, it must have been because he heard his brother had been in an accident. "It had to be the emotion over his brother. It had to be. If there's anything you want to quote me on, it's how close these two were. His brother was hurt. That's the only thing that makes sense to me. The only time he was aggressive was when he was on the field."
Tom Costa also knew Garrett and Britt well. He ran the Harriton Football Boosters group when his son Jason, who was a grade-year older than Britt, played football on the high school team.
"Britt never saw one iota of temper," Costa added. "If he got angry, he got quiet. He stood there like his father. They would cross their arms in the same way. When something bothered him, he was the quiet, reserved person."
As for Garrett, Costa said that in a "crowd of kids, he would be the one who stood out. He was a leader in the football team. He always had a running joke with everybody."
And, at least in high school, the two Reid boys had a reputation for not partying, Costa said.
"If they were very quiet about it [any partying], we didn't know it. I think Andy always carried a tight ship."
A friend of Britt's who graduated from Harriton in recent years said he could envision Britt getting angry if someone had cut him off on the road and he was in a rush to get to the scene of Garrett's accident.
"I'm sure it's just his emotions that got the best of him," said the Harriton friend, who asked that his name not be used.
Britt did have a temper, but one that he let loose on the football field, the friend said.
Britt was "never someone who went and picked on someone," the friend said. "You could just see his emotions when he plays football. He gets fired up. He's a big guy. It's not like he's a bad kid."
Kristi Marnie, a hairstylist with Salon Europa in Queen Village, who has clipped the coach's and his sons' hair for years, said of the brothers: "I didn't think they had any anger problems or drug problems. I find it hard to believe. They seem like nice, good, calm kids, and I never knew them to get in any trouble."