PJ Hairston Was Driving a Rented car When He Was Arrested. Who Rented the Car for the UNC

North Carolina v Kansas
North Carolina v Kansas / Ed Zurga/Getty Images

PJ Hairston, North Carolina’s leading scorer last year, was arrested nearly two weeks ago while driving around a shady part of Durham, and initially, it looked like just another college kid busted with a tiny amount of marijuana while hanging around some of his buddies.

Then, it escalated – a gun was found outside of the vehicle. Police still haven’t determinted who the gun belongs to. In fact, people have said almost nothing about Hairston’s case in the last week.

The latest PJ Hairston news was that he didn’t partake in the basketball game between current players and alumni at the Roy Williams basketball camp. No reason was given.

After thumbing through the police report (see below) a question lingers: the car Hairston was driving (oh, he didn’t have a license) was a rental. Hmmm. Who rented the car?

That, right now, remains a mystery.

So UNC’s best player – arguably – is tooling around in a 2013 silver GMC Yukon. An entry-level 2013 GMC Yukon sells for $45,000. The report doesn’t say where the vehicle was rented from. I called all the rental car agencies in Durham and a GMC Yukon with the plates and serial number matching the one Hairston was driving belonged to Hertz.

According to an employee at Hertz in Durham who did not wish to give their name, you only need to be 20-years old and have a license to rent a car from that agency. Hairston is 20.

The cost to rent a 2013 GMC Yukon at that Hertz? About $245 a day (taxes, fees, etc). Who is footing that bill?

The next step was much more difficult: Who rented the car? Hertz wouldn’t say. [The Hertz corporate office asked me if I had a subpoena, then told me that information was only available to law enforcement agencies.]  I was able to get one helpful female employee on the phone who said she would confirm the name of the renter to me if I said it. I mentioned all the names of the people in the car, but she said none of them had rented it. The other name I tried was a longshot: Alex Kellner.

Who is Alex Kellner?

Well, he owns the place Hairston and (his mother, perhaps) are currently renting Oakridge, North Carolina. Like I said, it was a longshot. [Hairston’s address was listed in the police report; county tax documents listed Kellner as the owner.]

The Hertz agent said no, he wasn’t the one who rented the car.

So we’re back to the original question: Star college basketball player driving around a high-end rented SUV with his buddies, drugs, and a weapon. The public information officer kept referring me to the police report and wouldn’t elaborate. Eventually, Carolina police will determine who the weapon belonged to. Will police reveal the renter of the vehicle?

Perhaps this is another Joe McKnight situation? Or perhaps it is nothing. Maybe Hairston has rich relatives, like Johnny Manziel. Either way, I’m sure the dogged NCAA will look into it and get to the bottom of things. Just like it did with the UNC Academic scandal.