Police: Leyritz threatened suicide

Updated: May 15, 2009, 12:15 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Former major leaguer Jim Leyritz, who is awaiting trial in Florida on DUI manslaughter charges, phoned a friend in New Jersey this week threatening suicide, according to police.

Media reports out of New York and Florida said Leyritz voluntarily checked himself into a psychiatric ward at a Hollywood, Fla., hospital Wednesday night after being taken there by Davie police.

Jim Leyritz

Leyritz

The 45-year-old former catcher and designated hitter faces an upcoming trial in Fort Lauderdale in the December 2007 crash that killed a woman.

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Davie Police Lt. Bill Coyne said Leyritz became upset when a court-ordered monitoring device installed in his car to monitor his blood-alcohol content prevented the car from starting.

Leyritz told police he was not drinking, and officers noted in the report that there was no evidence of alcohol or drug use. A urine sample was also taken. If the test comes back positive, it would be a violation of his bail conditions.

After taking a call from a distraught Leyritz, the New Jersey friend placed a 911 call to Davie police. Leyritz told police he was having trouble sleeping, was anxious and may need medical attention.

Leyritz's attorney J. David Bogenschutz said his client did everything he was supposed to do Wednesday night. Leyritz hadn't been drinking and when there was a problem with the vehicle's interlock device, Leyritz immediately went to his probation office to take a urine test and prove he hadn't been drinking, Bogenschutz said.

The Fort Lauderdale defense attorney said he's talked with the prosecutor in Leyritz's case, and the two are planning to speak with the judge Friday.

Leyritz was released from a psychiatric unit at Memorial Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., Thursday afternoon, his ex-wife, Karri Leyritz told The New York Post.

In December 2007 in Ft. Lauderdale, authorities say Leyritz was drunk when he ran a red light and crashed into another car, killing Fredia Ann Veitch.

Leyritz, who played for six teams and last was in the majors in 2000, was jailed in February after the device in his car recorded that he consumed alcohol four times since it was installed in April 2008. A Broward County judge said after the device was installed, Leyritz believed he was allowed to consume alcohol.

His attorney, David Bogenschutz, would "neither confirm nor deny" for the Daily News that his client had been admitted to a hospital.

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