Late last night, the story began to spread.
Just after 5 p.m. on Thursday, Rays minor league reliever Matt Bush hit a 72-year-old motorcyclist while driving his SUV. Then, according to reports, Bush kept going.
The troubled 26-year-old, and number 1 pick by the Padres in the 2004 draft, is being held in Charlotte County Jail and is charged with fleeing the scene with serious injuries, driving with a suspended license with serious injuries, DUI with serious injuries and DUI with property damage.
This morning, he appeared in court without a lawyer. The judge gave Bush 24 hours to find legal representation. He will appear in court again at 8:30 Saturday morning.
Anthony Tufano, the 72-year-old victim, was taken to Lee Memorial Hospital. Tufano is in the ICU suffering from several serious injuries.
Witnesses descriptions of the accident are chilling:
According to reports, Tufano was thrown from his bike onto the pavement. They also state that Tufano was then run over by the Durango and that witnesses said the driver of the SUV “had blatantly left the scene of the crash.”
“Literally the tire on the SUV ran over the driver’s head. Without the helmet, the gentleman would have been dead instantly,” said witness Scott Sugden.
ABC 7 has photos of the motorcycle in their video report that aired this morning.
According to ABC 7, Bush blew a 0.180 and 0.171 in breath tests administered by deputies. The legal BAC limit for a driver in Florida is .08.
Deputies said Bush made comments to deputies about having “a serious alcohol problem and how he will be unable to play baseball.”
Bush told investigators he was coming home from Sarasota while shopping at a mall and had “stopped and bought a few” and “kept driving.”
A deputy asked Bush if the incident was a serious awakening, and Bush replied it wasn’t and he had “already been there,” according to the release.
Deputies said Bush also admitted to hitting a pole earlier in the day in Sarasota, and he said he didn’t see the motorcycle or remember hitting it.
David Brown of Yahoo! Sports spoke to Bush in late February. The piece Brown wrote following last night’s accident is a sad one, but it should be read.
Some of Bush’s quotes from February will break your heart:
“It’s taken awhile, but I’m 26 now. I’m mature. I feel like a man, and I feel I can handle myself and know how to go about things. Today, I’m happy with myself and I’m content with life and I can go from there. I don’t have to be the main guy in the spotlight. I don’t have to be the best player or the biggest prospect. I’m just happy to be here. I just want to keep a job, really.”
Just weeks ago, it seemed Bush was overcoming his demons, as noted by both Brown and Tommy Rancel of ESPN Florida.
Now, as Bush sits in jail, held without bond, keeping a job with the Rays does not look like it’s in the cards.
As more updates on Tufano’s condition and Bush’s legal proceedings come in, I’ll post them here and on Twitter.