Thursday, November 23, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Attorney for Tampa Bay Rays minor-leaguer Matt Bush seeks reduction in bail

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Rays minor-league pitcher Matt Bush was treated "dramatically different" than other people in similar DUI hit-and-run cases, with his $1.015 million bail excessive and "inappropriate," his attorney Russell Kirshy said.

Kirshy has filed a motion for a bail reduction, with a hearing set for Monday in Punta Gorda.

Bush is in Charlotte County Jail facing seven charges after his arrest March 22, when police said he hit the motorcycle of 72-year-old Tony Tufano and fled the scene. Bush, driving teammate Brandon Guyer's Dodge Durango, had a suspended license, with police saying he had a blood alcohol level of .180, more than double the 0.08 percent at which a driver is considered impaired.

Tufano suffered serious injuries and was in the intensive care unit of a Fort Myers hospital for a couple of weeks. He was released last week and is home.

In his motion, Kirshy said he researched all similar DUI with serious bodily injury cases the past five years in Charlotte County, and the highest bail set in those cases was $65,000. In that time, even those cases involving DUI manslaughter, suspended license and leaving the scene of a crash involving death, the highest bail set was $96,000, Kirshy wrote.

Tufano's family attorney, Paul Sullivan, said the cases Kirshy included in his motion aren't "comparing apples to apples" considering Bush's arrest record, his limited ties to the community and the fact that he got into three hit-and-run accidents March 22. Tufano's family will attend Monday's hearing.

"The idea that we should take pity on Mr. Bush and say he's not a danger to the community would be laughable if it weren't so outrageous and if the situation we're all looking at wasn't so terrible," Sullivan said. "It's bad enough he was driving around Charlotte County, running into people and leaving them for dead. There's zero assurance that Mr. Bush won't drink and drive and cause mayhem wherever he goes."

Despite Bush's $3.15 million signing bonus as the 2004 top overall pick, Kirshy writes the 26-year-old is living "payday to payday," with very little savings and no other liquid assets he can convert to cash. The Rays have since put Bush on the restricted list.

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

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