Leyritz charged in DUI death

Leyritz charged in DUI death

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Former Major Leaguer Jim Leyritz was arrested Friday on charges of driving under the influence and killing a driver after his car crashed into hers.

Leyritz was charged with DUI manslaughter and DUI property damage, said Detective Kathy Collins, Fort Lauderdale police spokeswoman. He posted the $11,000 bond and was released from Broward County jail.

Police believe alcohol was involved in the crash, though investigators are awaiting results of blood alcohol tests, Collins said.

Leyritz played for six Major League teams, starred in the 1996 World Series and was last in the Majors in 2000.

Leyritz, who lives in Davie, turned 44 Thursday. It could not be determined if he had a lawyer. A telephone message left on an answering machine at the home address he gave police was not immediately returned.

Fort Lauderdale authorities got a call at 3:20 a.m. that a crash occurred in the city's entertainment district, Collins said. She said Leyritz was driving a 2006 Ford Expedition when he collided at an intersection with 30-year-old Fredia Ann Veitch of Plantation, who was driving a 2000 Mitsubishi Montero.

Veitch was ejected from the car, police said. She died at Broward General Medical Center, Collins said.

Witnesses told police Leyritz had a red light. Officers on the scene observed Leyritz to have red, watery eyes, a flushed face and an odor of alcohol, police said.

Leyritz was told Veitch had died and he was asked to submit to a blood test, police said.

"After he refused, Leyritz was informed that blood would be taken above his refusal," the police statement said.

If convicted of the vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol charge, a second degree felony in Florida, Leyritz faces a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 15 years in prison. He also would lose his driver's license permanently, although persons without prior offenses can apply for reinstatement after five years.

Leyritz, who hit a World Series-turning home run in 1996 for the Yankees against the Braves, also played for the Angels, Rangers, Red Sox, Padres and Dodgers during his career. A lifetime .264 hitter, Leyritz had 90 homers and 387 RBIs in 903 games. He has been a part-time, on-air correspondent for MLB.com, the YES Network and MSG Network since retiring from baseball.