Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa has been charged with driving under the influence stemming from a February arrest, ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Paula Lavigne, and Charlie Moynihan reported Monday.
According to court documents obtained by ESPN, La Russa was arrested in Arizona after he allegedly ran his car into a curb near a Phoenix-area road. The report also notes that La Russa was charged one day before the White Sox announced him as their new manager.
A White Sox spokesperson who spoke to ESPN confirmed the team was aware of the situation, but wouldn’t comment further citing that it was still an active case.
Here are more details from the ESPN report:
On Feb. 24 at 11:40 p.m., a peace officer responded to a call and found La Russa standing alongside his SUV, according to an affidavit filed by the Arizona Department of Public Safety. La Russa told the officer, who had detected a "light odor of alcoholic beverage," that he had been at a dinner with friends from the Los Angeles Angels, for whom he was working as a special advisor.
La Russa refused to submit to a breath test or provide a sample of his blood or urine to test his blood-alcohol level, according to the affidavit, and the officer obtained a search warrant to take two tubes of La Russa's blood. That is a common procedure for DUI cases in Arizona, said Michael Munoz, a Phoenix-area DUI criminal defense attorney who is not affiliated with the case. He also said it was not uncommon for charges not to be filed in cases for several months due to slowdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, however, other law enforcement sources in Arizona told ESPN the delay seemed excessive.
La Russa also refused comment when contacted by ESPN.
Tony La Russa’s second known DUI arrest
La Russa was previously arrested and charged with DUI during spring training in 2007. At the time, La Russa was managing the St. Louis Cardinals. He later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DUI in Jupiter, Florida.
"I'm not sure what type of statement to give," La Russa said after his previous arrest. "Last night's situation is the opposite of feeling good. It was an embarrassment, so I apologize to anyone who is close to me, members of the Cardinals organization, our fans. I regret it, take responsibility and I'm not sure there is anything else I can say."
La Russa retired as Cardinals manager after winning the 2011 World Series. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014. He surprised baseball fans by coming out of retirement to accept the White Sox job last month.
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