The family of Anthony Tufano, the victim in a DUI hit-and-run accident that led to Rays pitcher Matt Bush being charged, plans to file a civil lawsuit against Bush and Rays minor-league outfielder Brandon Guyer, whose Dodge Durango was involved in the crash.
Richard Hirsch, the Tufano family's Tampa-based attorney, said hospital bills will be in the "hundreds of thousands," and the family considers Bush and Guyer, among others, responsible. Tufano is in critical condition at a Fort Myers hospital with several serious injuries caused Thursday when police said Bush fled after hitting Tufano's motorcycle with Guyer's SUV.
"It's pretty clear to us from some of the comments being made that everyone is attempting to walk away from this situation and from any legal responsibility," Hirsch said. "If you accept what everyone, Mr. Bush, Mr. Guyer, the Rays, what they're saying is that it's a tragedy, but none of us bear any responsibility … is essentially what they're saying. I've been doing this too long to let that happen."
Bush is in the Charlotte County jail facing seven charges, with bail set for $1.015 million. Though Bush received a $3.15 million signing bonus from the Padres as the 2004 top overall pick, his attorney, Russell Kirshy, told the court the pitcher could be classified as "indigent," with $2,000 in his bank account.
Guyer, Bush's roommate in Port Charlotte, allowed Bush to use his SUV to drive him to the team facility Thursday afternoon, but he had no knowledge of Bush's suspended license and didn't give him permission to use the vehicle after, said Guyer's agent, Jamie Appel.
Hirsch said that under Florida law, if Guyer gave Bush permission to drive it at all, it falls under "implied consent" even if Bush drove the car outside of Guyer's direct wishes. Hirsch said the state's "dangerous instrumentality" doctrine imposes strict vicarious liability to vehicle owners when a non-owner negligently causes injury.
Hirsch said the family is also looking into potential responsibility of the bar that served Bush alcohol, as well as what role the Rays played.
"Our hope is that Mr. Bush and Mr. Guyer would be responsible for the damages they've caused," Hirsch said. "And I don't doubt the sincerity of the Rays expressing remorse, I don't doubt for one minute Mr. (Rays executive vice president Andrew) Friedman's sincere remorse. But there are responsibilities of athletic teams under certain circumstances — was it foreseeable that this would happen? That's really the issue."