Bush was involved in three accidents day of his DUI-hit-and run crash
Rays minor league pitcher Matt Bush got in a previous hit-and-run accident three hours before police arrested him in North Port Mar. 22 for a DUI-hit-and-run crash, according to Venice Police records.
Bush is in Charlotte County jail facing seven charges stemming from his North Port crash, which occurred around 5 p.m. and resulted in serious injuries for 72-year-old motorcyclist Tony Tufano. When arrested, Bush had told police he also hit a pole earlier that day in Sarasota, but didn’t mention a third crash in Venice that happened first.
According to a Venice police report, at around 2:20 p.m., Bush attempted to make an illegal u-turn when he sideswiped a vehicle owned by Nelson Chaffee, a 70-year-old from Massachusetts, who had stopped at a red light on SR45A Northbound. The report states Bush fled the scene on a US-41 bypass. The Venice Police department issued an attempt to locate Bush’s vehicle, based on information given by the victims, which described the driver as a “dark-skinned male in his 20s wearing a hat and driving a black SUV with a partial Maryland tag.” Bush was driving the Dodge Durango of teammate, Rays minor leaguer Brandon Guyer.
Chaffee, driving his Jeep Cherokee with his wife, Judy, in the passenger seat, told the Times he was going North on US. 41, and saw Bush's SUV - estimating it was going 70 miles per hour - "nearly hit a car in the right lane," and then pulled into a left turn lane at the two-way intersection at Venice Ave. Chaffee said he pulled up next to Bush, looked at him, then looked straight ahead and waited for the light to change.
When Bush's light changed, Chafee said Bush backed up and angled his car directly at his, hitting his rear door of his car before making the illegal u-turn and going southbound on US 41 (Tamiami Trail). Chafee, who spends the winters in Florida, said neither he or his wife were hurt, that they just had to replace the rear door.
"I must have angered him," Chaffee said.
Just over an hour later, around 3:30 p.m, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s office advised the VPD that the State College of Florida just had a hit-and-run that involved Bush, who fled the scene southbound after hitting a light pole at 8000 Tamiami Trail. A report from the Sarasota County Sherriff’s office filed a non-arrest complaint for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, saying the “light pole had been struck on the campus near the roadway, the light pole was cut in half and there was still multiple black pieces of a vehicle lying on the ground from the impact.”
At 5 p.m. Bush was driving the Durango when he hit Tufano’s motorcycle and fled the scene, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. With the help of deputies and a helicopter, Bush was located and arrested. Bush had a blood alcohol percentage of .180, more than twice the legal limit, according to FHP.
Bush, since put on the restricted list by the Rays, is in Charlotte County jail on $1.015 bond. The Tufano family has filed a civil lawsuit against Bush and Guyer for $5 million each for damages and pain and suffering resulting in the crash involving Tufano. Tufano has been moved out of the intensive care unit at Lee Memorial Hospital and is improving, with the possibility he could get released tonight,” daughter in law Shannon Moore said.
-- JOE SMITH