Leyritz sued for wrongful death in connection with fatal crash

Updated: March 25, 2008, 6:34 PM ET
Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Former major leaguer Jim Leyritz is being sued in Broward County for wrongful death in connection with a fatal traffic accident in December.

The lawsuit asking for at least $15,000 in damages was filed Tuesday by the family of 30-year-old Fredia Ann Veitch. Leyritz has previously pleaded not guilty to DUI manslaughter charges stemming from the Dec. 28 accident.

Police say Leyritz was drunk when he ran a red light in his sport utility vehicle and caused the crash. Authorities say Veitch also had a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit.

The 44-year-old Leyritz played for six teams in 11 major league seasons, including a stint with the New York Yankees in which he hit a memorable 1996 World Series home run.

Leyritz' attorney, David Bogenschutz, said the lawsuit closely tracks the criminal case.

"We believe that, when the evidence in both of these cases is heard by a jury, he will be both criminally and civilly exonerated from any responsibility in this accident," Bogenschutz said.

Trial in the criminal case is scheduled to begin May 12. If convicted, Leyritz faces up to 15 years in prison.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press