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Tufano family to sue Tampa Bay Rays' Matt Bush, Brandon Guyer for $5 million apiece

PORT CHARLOTTE — The family of the victim in a hit-and-run case that resulted in DUI charges against Rays minor-league pitcher Matt Bush began the process of filing a civil suit in Charlotte County against Bush and outfielder Brandon Guyer.

The suit, expected to be officially recorded today, seeks in excess of $5 million from both athletes. Bush was driving Guyer's Dodge Durango at the time of the March 22 accident.

Police said Bush hit the motorcycle of 72-year-old Tony Tufano and left the scene; police say Bush had a blood alcohol percentage of .180, more than double the level at which Florida considers a driver impaired.

Bush is in Charlotte County jail on $1.015 million bond facing seven charges and was put on the restricted list by the Rays. Tufano is in the intensive care unit of a Fort Myers hospital, having suffered several serious injuries, including a collapsed lung and hemorrhaging of the brain.

Guyer's attorney, Scott Albee, declined to comment.

Paul Sullivan, the Tufanos' Tampa attorney, said they're still investigating and anticipate adding parties to the complaint, possibly including the Rays.

"Money is never going to make anybody whole," Sullivan said. "Your health is worth a lot more than money. But it's going to take a long, long time to get him back on his feet."

Shannon Moore, Tufano's daughter-in-law, said there has been slight improvement. He could be moved from the ICU to a halfway or transition room in the next couple of days. Though he can't talk due to a tracheotomy, he's communicating with family members.

Moore said that Tuesday, when Tufano's son, Tony, told him that his granddaughters, Coral, 19, and Willow, 14, were going to run a 5K in December, Tufano pointed to his legs, indicating he wanted to participate.

"We'll see how it goes," Moore said. "But he's definitely optimistic."

Times staff writer Michael Kruse contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@tampabay.com.

Tufano family to sue Tampa Bay Rays' Matt Bush, Brandon Guyer for $5 million apiece 04/03/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 7:38pm]
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