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Tampa Bay Rays RHP Matt Bush's bond set for $1.015 million on seven charges; his "heart goes out" to victim



Saying Tampa Bay Rays RHP Matt Bush is a "danger to the community" and a "flight risk," Charlotte County circuit judge Nicholas Thompson set the reliever's bond for $1.015 million combined for the seven charges in Saturday hearing.


Bush's court date is scheduled for May 21.

Bush, arrested Thursday on charges of DUI and leaving the scene of an accident that caused serious bodily injury, appeared on close circuit TV, somber as Thompson addressed him. Bush's attorney Russell Kirshy argued for a much smaller bond, saying the 26-year-old is indigent, with a $78,000 minor league salary and just $2,000 in the bank. Kirshy told the judge the Rays had discussed potentially setting Bush up in a rehab facility in the Tampa Bay area, so he can get better.

With Kirshy expecting Bush not posting bond, he'll likely be in jail for a while.

"He understands his career is probably in jeopardy," Kirshy told the court. "And his life is probably in jeopardy."

Prosecutor Richard Simpson argued that the victim, 72-year-old Tony Tufano, is in serious condition as a result of Bush's alleged actions, and pointed out Bush's previous arrest history in suggesting a larger bond. Kirshy, who met with Bush Friday, said he saw a somber, remorseful kid, one who "understands the gravity of what's happened.'

"My heart goes out to (Tufano's family), I know that Mr. Bush's heart goes out to them," Kirshy said. “Anybody who knows Matt knows that he's one of the most sweetest, most soft-spoken people you'll ever meet and that's exactly the way he was. He was very subdued, very worried, very introspective."

Bush's agent, Jonathan Weisz, said everyone is in "complete shock," that Bush is a great kid with a good heart who had overcome so much in the past few years, but made a bad mistake. Weisz said Bush doesn't own a car, and, to his knowledge, hasn't driven in years, so he was surprised to see he was driving - implying he must have borrowed the Dodge Durango. Weisz met with the Rays Friday, praised them for how much they helped Bush and believes they still plan to "stand behind him" as he battles his problem.

"Certainly anybody who has ever been an alcoholic or a drug ddict will tell you it's a lifelong struggle," Kirshy said. "It's something that you have to do everyday for the rest of your life. It's not something that you go to rehab and solve the problem and now you don't have a problem any more. You still have a problem, still have to deal with that problem on a daily basis from now until the day you die."

[Last modified: Monday, April 23, 2012 12:40am]


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