Ex-Yankee Jim Leyritz Acquitted In Fatal DUI Crash

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A jury in Florida on Saturday acquitted former major league baseball player Jim Leyritz of DUI manslaughter in a 2007 crash that killed a mother of two.

However, Leyritz was convicted on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence, which carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail. Leyritz had faced up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the manslaughter charge.

Sentencing was set for Nov. 29.

Testimony was inconclusive on whether Leyritz ran a red light on Dec. 28, 2007, when he collided with a vehicle driven by 30-year-old Fredia Ann Veitch, who died.

Defense experts testified that Leyritz may have been below Florida’s 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level when the crash occurred, even though it was 0.14 percent three hours later.

Leyritz played 11 major league seasons, hitting a memorable World Series home run for the New York Yankees in 1996.

The crash happened after Leyritz had been out at local nightspots celebrating his birthday. Veitch, who had gone out to other bars after work, was also drunk with a blood-alcohol level twice Florida’s limit, according to trial testimony.

Two witnesses testified that Veitch had the green light at an intersection before Leyritz’s Ford Expedition hit her vehicle, causing a rollover crash that ejected her onto the pavement. But under cross-examination, those same witnesses were less definitive about whether Leyritz’s light was red or yellow.

Defense expert witnesses also said Veitch’s lights may have been off and that Leyritz did not appear to be speeding. They also raised questions about the reliability of Leyritz’s blood tests and suggested he may have suffered a slight concussion that caused his body to absorb alcohol more slowly.

Prosecutors insisted that Leyritz was too drunk to react to the traffic light or avoid the collision with Veitch’s Mitsubishi Montero. They said he consumed the equivalent of between 11 and 12 shots of liquor in the three hours before the crash, which happened around 3 a.m.

Florida law provides for a DUI manslaughter conviction when a person’s actions either caused or contributed to the cause of someone else’s death.

In May, Leyritz settled a wrongful death lawsuit by agreeing to pay Veitch’s family $350,000 in insurance and personal funds.

Leyritz’s famous homer for the Yankees tied Game 4 of the World Series against Atlanta, a game New York would go on to win in extra innings. The victory paved the way for New York’s 1996 title, its first in 18 years.

Primarily a catcher, Leyritz also played for the Angels, Rangers, Red Sox, Padres and Dodgers. He had a career batting average of .264 and hit 90 home runs.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  • http://yahoo.com lida

    Wow its amazeing she was twicw the level of the legal limit and no seat belt such a shame

  • Sherman

    It is the law that is to blame for this. Why is there any law that prohibits or controls brain chemistry. What about thought control as well. If you think wrong thoughts then you are guilty and subject to re-education al la 1984. Big brother wants to know what chemicals you have in your brain. Go to Hell Big Brother.

  • tony francis


  • WR

    He must’ve had a a helluva lawyer

  • jUSTIN

    What money can do for you?

  • tim flaherty

    yellow too red in baltimore city is usually 1 !/2 too 2 seconds if you’re lucky…law states it should be at least 4 seconds from yellow too red…not near enough time to react if you are 20 or less feet from the light….there are speed traps, and there are red light traps…I don’t think either driver had a chance to react, drinking or not, if the light turned that fast, which so many illegally do.Very tragic.

  • tb

    got away with murder

  • http://andrewsadlerphotography.wordpress.com Andrew

    However you want to look at it the whole thing is very sad, there are no winners here

  • magdalena

    The right decision was made. The lady was guilty of running a red light, was impaired and was talking on her cell phone. She contributed mightily to this accident.

    Why on earth didn’t the jury get to hear about this? Also, the FST showed that he was not impaired. He passed it with flying colors.

  • George39

    Leyritz shouldn’t have had to pay the family even ONE PENNY!! The other driver was drunk too!! Just because Leyritz didn’t die and the other driver did, doesn’t mean that it wasn’t the other driver’s fault!

  • Aram

    just another example on how the rich and the famous can sometimes buy their way out of prison. These jurors should be ashamed of themselves.

    • dico j.

      like archie bunker once said….a jury consists of…. “5 salesman, 3 bank tellers, a couple of plumbers, a seamstress, and 1 dingbat.”

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