Friday, February 13, 2009
Leyritz jailed for drinking alcohol
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Former major leaguer Jim Leyritz was arrested and jailed Friday after a judge revoked his bond for violating his pretrial release on a DUI manslaughter charge, authorities said.
Prosecutors filed a motion earlier in the week in Fort Lauderdale seeking to have Leyritz jailed as he awaits trial.
Authorities say a system in Leyritz's car that he has to blow in before starting it, and periodically while driving, recorded that he consumed alcohol four times since the device was installed in April 2008. He is not allowed to drink alcohol under the terms of his release.
Leyritz's trial is tentatively set for May 25. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty.
His attorney, J. David Bogenschutz, said Friday his client's arrest stems from a misunderstanding. He filed a motion Friday afternoon seeking to have Leyritz released pending an emergency hearing.
Bogenschutz said that as part of Leyritz's pretrial release, he initially had to submit to multiple daily alcohol tests on a home device. That order was changed in April 2008, allowing Leyritz to drive but only if the breath device was installed in his vehicle.
At that point, according to Bogenschutz, officers charged with monitoring Leyritz told him they would no longer be supervising him.
"So he believed at that point, because he now had a machine in his car, it was OK to drink, but that he's just not going to be able to drink and drive because the car is going to turn off," Bogenschutz said.
Bogenschutz said Leyritz has used the vehicle breath device some 4,000 times with only four registered alcohol incidents. He said that since the latest incident in January, authorities have made it clear to Leyritz that he is still not allowed to consume any alcohol -- and Leyritz hasn't.
"He really shouldn't be held responsible," Bogenschutz said. "It's a little disturbing."
Ron Ishoy, a spokesman for prosecutors, acknowledged that officers in charge of supervising Leyritz assumed his monitoring had concluded in April when the device was installed in his vehicle.
"That assumption was incorrect," Ishoy said Friday. "It is the state's position that Mr. Leyritz was to remain on pretrial release and not consume alcohol."
Authorities said Leyritz was drunk on Dec. 28, 2007, when he ran a red light in his sport utility vehicle in Fort Lauderdale and crashed into another car, killing 30-year-old Fredia Ann Veitch.
Authorities said toxicology reports indicated that Leyritz's blood-alcohol level three hours after the crash was 0.14 percent. The reports also indicated that Veitch, too, was drunk, with a blood-alcohol level of 0.18. Florida's legal limit is 0.08.
The 45-year-old played for six major league teams and last was in the majors in 2000, ending his 11-year career. In 1996, he homered for the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the World Series against Atlanta. The homer made it 6-6, and the Yankees won in 10 innings. New York took the series in six games for its first title in 18 years.