Jim Leyritz sat down with two Daily News reporters to talk about his fatal DUI accident. In the first interview since December’s crash, Leyritz talked about the psychological and emotional impact the accident had on him. Surprisingly, when talking about the victim, Fredia Ann Veitch, Leyritz claimed that his car had been parked at a red light when she went through the light and hit him. If true, he’ll face a heavily reduced sentence after his trial, set to begin in January, wraps up. But the reality is that Leyritz was still behind the wheel with a BAC of nearly twice the legal limit.
Jim Leyritz is set to face an arraignment hearing today, and the New York Post reports that the 30-year-old who died in December’s car crash was driving drunk as well. There is no word on how this will affect Leyritz, but I’m sure his attorneys will be all over this one.
Two stories of note as the Jim Leyritz saga continues. None of the news is good for the former Yankee and one-time World Series hero.
Leo Standora at the Daily News notes that Leyritz’s BAC was twice the legal limit three hours after his fatal auto accident in December. The details are a bit chilling:
Fort Lauderdale cops said Wednesday a blood test taken nearly three hours after the 3:20 a.m. collision registered a .14 alcohol level. The legal limit in Florida is .08. The amount of alcohol in blood reaches its highest level about an hour after drinking.
A second blood test taken at 7:12 a.m., nearly four hours after the crash showed a .13 level…
Investigators who charged Leyritz with manslaughter said he was clearly drunk, citing his “red watery eyes, flushed face and the odor of an alcoholic beverage.” Leyritz stumbled, couldn’t follow instructions from cops, and missed three of six attempts to touch his nose with his finger, police said.
Still, his lawyer has said the case is “certainly not a slam dunk.” David Bogenschutz scoffed at the notion client had no defense.
I’m not a lawyer — yet, at least — but I have no idea what sort of defense Leyritz’s lawyers are going to conjure up here. It seems to me that they would be better off accepting a plea deal.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that Fort Lauderdale police have said that Leyrtiz will face an additional manslaughter charge. Based on my reading of the Florida sentencing guidelines and the state’s definition of manslaughter as a felony of the second degree, Leyritz may be facing up to an additional 15 years in prison.
As 2007 neared an end ten days ago, Jim Leyritz, suspended license and all, got behind the wheel of his car after a night out. During his drive home, as numerous sources have reported, he crashed his car and, in the crash, a Florida woman died. He has since been arrested on suspicion of DUI and vehicular homicide and, if convicted, faces up to 16 years in jail.
Jim Leyrtiz’s story is one of tragedy. The death of a 30-year-old mother because Jim Leyritz was allegedly driving drunk is tragic. Leyrtiz’s ultimate fate — a potential jail sentence of 16 years — is tragic. Leyritz was beloved by his fans, his co-workers and his family. Now, his life is in tatters, and the lives of the Fredia Ann Veitch’s family is ruined.
But for this tragedy, this story is not an isolated incident in recent baseball past. When Cardinals’ reliever Josh Hancock died in a car crash, his BAC was nearly double the legal limit. Six weeks earlier, Tony LaRussa had been arrested and charged with a DUI. For all the talk about steroids and performance-enhancing drugs, I have to wonder: Does Major League Baseball have an alcohol problem?
According to a report in the New York Post, Jim Leyritz was driving with a suspended license when he got into a fatal accident last week. According to DMV records, Leyritz’s Florida license was suspended in New York at the end of November because he failed to respond to a summons. This suspension could add up to a year to any prison sentence Leyritz receives if found guilty.
Jim Leyritz was reportedly arrested on suspicion of DUI and vehicular homicide early Friday morning. Miami’s Local 10 has more:
Police said Jim Leyritz was behind the wheel of a Ford SUV that collided with another vehicle at the intersection of Southwest Seventh Avenue and Second Street in the Himmarshee area of downtown Fort Lauderdale.
The impact caused the other car to roll over and the female driver of that vehicle was ejected and she died after being taken to Broward General Medical Center, police said.
Leyritz, a fan favorite when he played in the Bronx, currently works for MLB.com. Things do not look good for the King right now.