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Police: Rays' Matt Bush in three wrecks in one day

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Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 03:04 AM

As Tampa Bay Rays minor-league pitcher Matt Bush languishes in the Charlotte County Jail after a March 22 arrest on a pair of hit-and-run incidents, including one that involved a serious injury, police in Venice say he was in a crash there earlier that day.

He was not charged in the Venice incident, which came to light this week.

But Bush was charged with DUI, driving with a suspended license and fleeing a scene with serious injuries in the Port Charlotte wreck in which motorcyclist Anthony Tufano, 72, of Port Charlotte, was seriously injured. The 26-year-old prospect remains jailed on $1.015 million bail.

Tufano was released Wednesday from Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers. Tufano suffered a broken wrist, broken bones in his back, broken ribs, a collapsed lung and brain hemorrhaging. He was in a medically induced coma for nearly a week.

A few hours before Bush crashed into Tufano, Bush attempted an illegal U-turn and sideswiped a 2007 Jeep driven by Nelson Chaffee, according to a Venice Police Department crash report.

Chaffee was stopped at a red light at northbound State Road 45A. Bush fled the scene of the 2:20 p.m. crash and headed south on the U.S. 41 bypass, the report states.

Chaffee, 70, of Nattleborough, Mass., wasn't injured, though his vehicle had about $2,000 damage, the Venice report states.

Just after 3:30 p.m., the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office contacted Venice police to inform officers that State College of Florida had reported a hit-and-run involving a black Dodge Durango similar to the one involved in the Venice hit-and-run.

At 5 p.m., according to the Florida Highway Patrol, Bush hit Tufano's 2000 Harley Davidson from behind. Bush, who has been arrested several times for alcohol-related incidents, was arrested later in North Port.

In February 2009, Bush admitted being drunk while assaulting a high school lacrosse player.


Reporters José Patiño Girona and Roger Mooney contributed to this report.

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