TBO.com, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times - breaking news and weather
Saturday, Jul 12, 2014
Rays

Bail hearing for Rays' Matt Bush recessed until Monday

TBO.com
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 04:26 AM

Tony Tufano scoffs at the notion that Tampa Bay Rays minor league pitcher Matt Bush deserves leniency after Bush allegedly committed a DUI hit-and-run that left Tufano's father laying in the street with nearly fatal injuries.

"If being intoxicated constitutes leniency, then give me a bottle of tequila and let me run over Matt Bush with my SUV," Tufano said while reading from a prepared statement at Bush's bond reduction hearing Thursday at the Charlotte County Justice Center in Punta Gorda. "Maybe then he will know what it is like to suffer the way my father is.

"The thought of Matt Bush getting out of jail makes my father and the rest of our family sick."

A decision on the bond reduction request won't be made until next week. Judge John Duryea recessed the hearing until 9:30 a.m. Monday because state attorney Richard Simpson called in sick Thursday and was not in court.

Bush is facing multiple felony charges as a result of the incident on March 22, when Anthony Tufano reportedly was hit while riding his motorcycle in North Port by Bush, who was driving Rays teammate Brandon Guyer's SUV.

Anthony Tufano, 72, 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.

Tony Tufano's statement described watching his father suffer with his injuries and the knowledge he would miss many upcoming family events, including his daughter's 50th birthday party and a planned visit to his elderly parents.

Bush's attorney, Russell Krishy, is seeking a reduction of his client's bail from $1.015 million to $19,500, calling the court's original bail amount excessive.

"To say his bond is too high and not fair is disgusting to say the least," Tony Tufano read from his statement. "Being intoxicated and repeatedly committing violent criminal acts is not acceptable. If he gets out of jail there's no telling what other horrible violent act he will commit."

During the initial bond hearing on Tuesday, Krishy said that Bush, the No. 1 pick in the 2004 Major League Baseball amateur draft, has only $1,000 in the bank and, if released, would immediately enter an alcohol treatment facility in Florida.

Tony Tufano, facing Bush for the first time, said his actions prove he is a flight risk.

"To say he is not a threat to flee is ridiculous," Tufano said. "He assaulted my father then left him to die. He also fled from police vehicles that were trying to apprehend him."

Bush has a history of alcohol-related arrests and was driving with a suspended driver's license when he was apprehended. Guyer, Bush's spring training roommate in Port Charlotte, has said he didn't know Bush's license was suspended.

Bush was arrested three times for alcohol-induced altercations while with the San Diego Padres organization that drafted him and he was convicted of assaulting high school lacrosse players in February 2009. He was placed on three years probation for that conviction, which occurred in July 2009.

The Padres designated him for assignment and sent him to the Toronto Blue Jays, who released him outright during 2009 spring training for violating their "zero tolerance" agreement with him. He was signed by the Rays on January 28, 2010.

Police in Sarasota County and Venice say Bush is suspected of being involved in two other hit-and-run incidents on March 22, before Anthony Tufano was struck.

Information from WBBH-TV in Fort Myers was used in this report.

Comments