SPRING HILL — Glenn Primavera admits he made a mistake that led to his arrest on Friday.
But the longtime coach and director of the Spring Hill Dixie girls' softball league disputes an arrest report that says he admitted to using syringes found in his car to inject painkillers.
"Words were twisted in that report," Primavera, 41, told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday. "I did not say they were used by me personally. Just previous to that, there were other people in my car. I'm not a drug user, let me put it that way."
Primavera declined to comment further on his arrest. He resigned his volunteer positions over the weekend.
Hernando sheriff's Deputy Lauren Aleski saw Primavera's grey pickup drive over a concrete median on Northcliffe Boulevard and into oncoming traffic. Primavera then drove through a red light, forcing other cars get out of his way, according to an arrest report.
During a traffic stop, Primavera told Aleski he was driving recklessly because his wife had been in a car accident, the report said.
"He then advised that he was lying and that he was trying to buy pills and 'got ripped off,' " Aleski wrote.
Aleski discovered that Primavera's license was suspended for failing to pay traffic fines. Primavera consented to a search, and Aleski found two syringes and two metal spoons in the center console.
"(Primavera) advised that the spoons and syringes are used for him to inject prescription pain medications into his body," Aleski wrote.
Primavera was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, reckless driving and driving with a suspended license, all misdemeanors.
The Spring Hill Dixie league is part of the Hernando Youth League and features six age groups for girls ages 5 to 18. Primavera started as a coach eight years ago and became director five years ago. He has coached all age brackets and led four teams to the World Series, scoring victories in 2010 and 2012.
James "Obie" Evans, president of Dixie Softball Inc., said league officials have had concerns for years about his "hot temper, attitude and mood swings" and were planning to oust him.
"Some leagues wouldn't even play against him anymore," Evans said. "We were getting ready to make a move but Mr. Primavera solved the problem with his own actions. And by his actions, he pretty well proved we were on the right track."
Primavera said he doesn't recall ever receiving a warning from league officials. He said he had been planning to step aside anyway to lighten his work load and was grooming assistant director Dianne McClellan to take over.
McClellan and Hernando Youth League president Mike Walker on Monday said some parents complained recently that Primavera was too hard on his team of 7- and 8-year-old girls, one of whom is Primavera's daughter.
"He was a little too loud for that age group," said McClellan, who considers Primavera a friend. "He's a hard coach, but the girls get better, and they want to play for him. No one should take that away from him."