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Rays' Matt Bush pleads not guilty in March crash

Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 03:07 PM

Tampa Bay Rays minor-leaguer Matt Bush pleaded not guilty Monday to charges related to a March 22 hit-and-run crash in Port Charlotte that seriously injured a motorcyclist.

Bush faces seven charges, including driving under the influence with serious injuries and property damage, fleeing the scene of an accident with serious injuries and driving with a suspended license.

He made his formal plea from jail via closed-circuit video to Circuit Court Judge John Nuryea at the Charlotte County Justice Center.

Bush is being held at the Charlotte County Jail with bail set at $440,000. His attorney, Russell Kirshy, has said Bush cannot afford to pay the bail.

Kirshy has argued that Bush should be declared indigent. Later Monday, Kirshy is expected to ask the state to pay for a private investigator to assist in Bush's defense.

In March, Kirshy said Bush made only $78,000 last season while pitching on the Rays' Double-A team in Montgomery and had only $2,000 in his bank account.

Investigators said that Bush borrowed a teammate's sport utility vehicle on March 22 and struck a motorcycle operated by Tony Tufano, 72, of Port Charlotte.

Tufano was airlifted to a hospital with fractured ribs, a fractured wrist and brain hemorrhaging. He spent time in a medically induced coma and is recovering at home.

In April, Nuryea reduced Bush's bail from $1.015 million to $440,000.

The Rays removed Bush from the active roster after his arrest in March. He was the No. 1 overall draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2004 and signed by the Rays as a free agent in January 2010.

Information from WBBH-TV, the NBC affiliate in Fort Myers, was used in this report.

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