Former Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect Matt Bush pleaded no contest just before Christmas to DUI with bodily harm, accepting a plea agreement with 51 months of prison time less 272 days time served.
This is the third DUI-related conviction for Bush. His driver’s license is now revoked for 10 years in the state of Florida.
Bush faced seven charges resulting from a hit-and-run accident last March in Port Charlotte about a mile from the Rays’ spring training facility. Tony Tufano was riding his motorcycle along U.S. 41 when he was struck by an SUV driven by Bush. All of Tufano’s ribs were broken among other injuries.
Bush, who does not have a driver’s license, was driving an SUV owned by Rays outfielder Brandon Guyer. Both players are being sued by the Tufano family in a civil lawsuit.
When asked why Bush accepted the plea deal, his defense attorney indicated that they believed there was enough evidence to support a conviction of at least one charge, and they were afraid Bush may ultimately be sentenced to more time in prison. Bush, a pitcher in the Rays’ minor league system at the time of the accident, rejected at least one previous plea offer in which he would have served three years in prison plus seven years probation.
His defense attorney said that they decided not to accept the offer of probation because seven years of probation is notoriously difficult to finish without violations, especially in the case of alcoholism or other addiction.