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Guyer could face civil liability in RHP Matt Bush DUI hit-and-run



Rays righthander Matt Bush was driving teammate Brandon Guyer's Dodge Durango when he got in the DUI hit-and-run accident Thursday, the Florida Highway Patrol confirmed.


Bush had a suspended license, and didn't have a car on his own, his agent, Jonathan Weisz said. Guyer, a minor league outfielder and Bush's roommate in Port Charlotte, has declined to comment.  

So what does this all mean for Guyer?

FHP lieutenant Greg Bueno said Monday it doesn't appear like they're investigating Guyer for any criminal liability, since he would have had to have knowledge of Bush's lack of license, or the fact he was drinking, thus recklessly allowing him to drive the car. "He was not involved in the crash," Bueno said of Guyer.

But with the victim in the case, Tony Tufano, 72, in critical condition in a Fort Myers hospital, Guyer could find himself potentially involved in a civil suit. That's because Guyer is the owner of the Dodge Durango.

"The real issue for the teammate is, did he know or should have known about the suspension and those type of issues?" said Jay Hebert, a defense attorney not involved in the case. "There could be potential for culpable negligence, but that's a stretch. Certainly there's liability civilly from the standpoint of being the owner of the vehicle, and there would be insurance issues that could turn over to him from a plaintiff's standpoint."

Lee Coppock, a Stetson law professor, said the key in a civil suit would be whether Guyer gave Bush permission to use his car, though it could still be an "issue of fact."

"If there was evidence before that Bush had used it with permission, a jury will likely find that he did," Coppock. "That's the scary thing about being the owner of a car, you let someone use your car and you have exposure if they do something foolish with your car."


[Last modified: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 12:40am]


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