La Russa arrested for DUI

La Russa arrested for DUI

JUPITER, Fla. -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was arrested early Thursday morning for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, a misdemeanor in the state of Florida. La Russa reported to Cardinals camp on Thursday and managed the club in its game against the Florida Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.

Not long after the game, La Russa addressed reporters and apologized for the incident.

"What seems to make sense to me is that a person's goal is for everyone that's close to him and the organization that he's a part of to feel good about you personally and professionally," he said. "That's been my goal as long as I can remember, and for the last 11-plus years with the Cardinals.

"Last night's situation is the opposite of feeling good. It was an embarrassment, so I apologize to anyone that's close to me, members of the Cardinals organization, our fans. I regret it. I take responsibility, and I'm not sure there's anything else I can say."

La Russa declined to answer questions about the arrest, though he did discuss matters from the afternoon's game. The club issued a statement that read, in part, "The Cardinals organization remains supportive of Tony, and we understand that he has enlisted representation to advise him through any pending legal process."

David Roth, a prominent attorney in the Palm Beach area, will represent La Russa.

According to the police report on the incident, La Russa's vehicle was spotted just before midnight ET on Wednesday night at the intersection of Frederick Small Boulevard and Military Trail in Jupiter. Undercover officers noticed that the manager's vehicle was stopped, but his car was running at the intersection, sitting through two cycles of a traffic light.

When Jupiter police officers approached the vehicle, they saw La Russa "slumped over in the driver's seat" and knocked on the window. After the knocks were not met with a response, a field officer came to the scene.

After further knocking on the window, La Russa responded. He was given standard field sobriety tests, and the officers believed they had probable cause to arrest the manager on suspicion of DUI. Officers reported that La Russa had "difficulty maintaining his balance" during the field sobriety examination. He was arrested at approximately 1 a.m. ET.

When La Russa was taken to the Palm Beach County Jail, he underwent a breath test and was determined to have a blood alcohol level of .093, higher than Florida's legal limit of .08.

He was booked at Palm Beach County's Main Detention center at 4:07 a.m. ET and held until approximately 8 a.m. per a state regulation that requires a DUI suspect be held for eight hours.

According to the police news release, the manager "was cooperative throughout the investigation."

"The Cardinals apologize for any embarrassment and/or distraction this reported occurrence has created toward the team and its loyal fans," the club said in its statement.

Players stood behind their manager, and fans at Roger Dean Stadium received La Russa with a warm ovation prior to Thursday's game.

"All I know is that he's my manager and I support him," pitcher Braden Looper said. "We should be there to support him."

Florida pitcher Dontrelle Willis, the starter for the Marlins on Thursday, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in Miami on Dec. 22.

"He'll be all right," said Willis, who entered a not guilty plea. "He'll be fine. He didn't seem that upset. He came out there and supported his team. You heard the ovation he got. He'll be fine."

By Florida law, if La Russa is convicted, he will be subject to a fine of $250-$500, 50 hours of community service, potentially up to six months' imprisonment and the revocation of his drivers license for 180 days to one year.

The incident occurred with the various owners of the Cardinals in Jupiter for scheduled quarterly meetings.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.