Leyritz charged following accident that killed 30-year-old woman

Updated: January 31, 2008, 11:10 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Former Major League Baseball player Jim Leyritz was arrested Friday on charges of driving under the influence and killing another driver after his vehicle crashed into hers.

Leyritz, who turned 44 on Thursday, faces charges of DUI manslaughter and DUI property damage, said Detective Kathy Collins, Fort Lauderdale police spokeswoman.

Police believe alcohol was involved in the crash, though investigators are awaiting results of blood alcohol tests, Collins said. Leyritz posted the $11,000 bond and was released from the Broward County jail at 2:35 p.m. on Friday, according to Keyla Concepcion, a public information officer for the Broward Sheriff's Office.

Fort Lauderdale authorities got a call at 3:20 a.m. that a crash had 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.

On Sunday, Leyritz's attorney, Jeffrey M. Ostrow, released the following statement.

"Due to the tragic and unfortunate events of December 28, 2007, Mr. Leyritz and his family wish to express their deepest sympathies and condolences to the Veitch and O'Keefe families."

Veitch, who left a husband and two children, was a bartender at a Fort Lauderdale steakhouse. She was working her last week on the late shift and planned to scale back her hours to spend more time with her family, the Miami Herald reported.

"She was definitely family-oriented and a hard worker," Jeff Brown, her manager at the steakhouse, told the Herald. "When she was off, she would go to the beach with her little boy and then bring him in here for lunch."

She was not wearing a seat belt, police said, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Leyritz bounced from team to team over his career, which ended in 2000 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But he built a reputation as a clutch postseason hitter.

With the New York Yankees trailing the Atlanta Braves 2-1 in the 1996 World Series, Leyritz hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to tie Game 4 at Atlanta. New York won the game and the series, starting a run of four championships in five seasons.

He played an even bigger role for the San Diego Padres in their run to the 1998 World Series, hitting four homers and driving in nine runs in series wins over the Houston Astros in the NLDS and the Braves in the NLCS.

During the 2007 season, Leyritz traveled with the Yankees as a beat reporter for 1050 ESPN New York.

Leyritz, who signed with the Yankees as an amateur free agent in 1985, played 11 seasons in the major leagues for six teams including the Yankees, Angels, Rangers, Red Sox, Padres and Dodgers. He was a career .264 hitter with 90 home runs and 387 RBIs in 903 career games, primarily as a catcher and infielder.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.