Tony La Russa pleads guilty to lesser charge to end DUI case

Sports

PHOENIX — Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa pleaded guilty to a lesser charge to resolve misdemeanor drunken driving charges stemming from his arrest nearly 10 months ago on a freeway in metro Phoenix.

The 76-year-old La Russa pleaded guilty Monday to reckless driving in Maricopa County Justice Court. La Russa was sentenced to one day of home detention, fined nearly $1,400 and is required to complete 20 hours of community service.

Lawrence Kazan, La Russa’s lawyer, said his client underwent alcohol counseling after his arrest.

“That shows Mr. La Russa is taking this matter very seriously, and it is also indicative of the remorse he feels for having gotten himself involved in this matter,” Kazan said.

Authorities say La Russa, who won a World Series with Oakland and two more with St. Louis, blew out a tire on the grey Lexus he was driving. He smashed into a curb, leaving the vehicle smoking. Tests taken the night of his arrest showed his blood alcohol concentration was .095 — above the legal limit of .08.

The arrest occurred Feb. 24, but the charges were filed Oct. 28 — one day before his hiring by Chicago.

La Russa pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in Florida in 2007 after police found him asleep inside his running sport utility vehicle at a stop light and smelling of alcohol.

La Russa was hired by the Sox in a surprise move after Rick Renteria was let go in what the team said was a mutual decision. La Russa last managed in the majors in 2011, with St. Louis.

The Chicago White Sox today issued the following statement regarding manager Tony La Russa:

“With today’s announcement, Tony La Russa accepted responsibility and has been held legally accountable for his poor behavior and the questionable choices he made last February. The White Sox understand the anger and concern expressed by some about hiring Tony under these circumstances.

Tony has expressed to us his remorse, and he understands he brought this on himself.

We understand that people make mistakes and exercise poor judgment in life. In this case, Tony is fortunate his decisions that night did not injure himself or anyone else. We also believe people deserve the opportunity, at all points in their lives, to improve. Tony knows there is no safety net below him. There cannot be a third strike.

Tony has a proud and productive history with the White Sox and Major League Baseball, which is why we are standing by him. He has done his job exceptionally well in the past. He has always shown an ability to inspire his players and to bring his teams to a championship level.  We are confident that Tony will improve our team, while improving himself.”

Chicago White Sox

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