Culliver, 25, is suspected of striking a bicyclist on Friday morning while driving in San Jose, a city about 50 miles (80 km) south of San Francisco, and speeding away in his white Ford Mustang, the San Jose Police Department said in a statement.
After the collision, Culliver then smashed into the vehicle of a witness who attempted to block Culliver's car from fleeing the scene, police said.
The driver was later able to corner Culliver's vehicle until authorities arrived, police said.
A search of the athlete's car turned up a pair of illegal brass knuckles, police said.
Culliver was booked into the Santa Clara County Jail for felony hit-and-run, felony reckless driving with injury and felony possession of brass knuckles, police said. He also faces charges of misdemeanor hit-and-run in connection with hitting a car and misdemeanor driving on a suspended license.
The bicyclist, who suffered minor injuries, was treated and released at the scene, police said.
San Francisco 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke said he was aware of the "recent matter involving Chris Culliver."
"We will remain in contact with Chris and the local authorities as we continue to gather the facts regarding this situation," Baalke said in an emailed statement. "As this is an ongoing legal matter, we will reserve further comment at this time," he said.
Culliver, who played football at the University of South Carolina, was drafted by the 49ers in 2011. He stirred up controversy last year when he told reporters that he would not welcome a gay teammate into the locker room.
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