By John Clark
Matt Bush, the first overall pick in the 2004 amateur baseball draft, was sentenced this week to 51 months in prison after pleading no contest to a drunk driving charge, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Sources say Bush was widely believed to be a future superstar, but troubles with alcohol and several arrests eventually destroyed the young prospect’s career.
The latest incident for the 26-year-old happened this March, when Bush nearly killed a 72-year-old man in a hit-and-run accident, according to sources.
On that night, sources say Bush was driving a Dodge Durango that he had borrowed from a frien when he struck Tony Tufano’s motorcycle and quickly fled the scene of the accident.
When police finally caught up with Bush, who was driving without a license, they discovered that his blood alcohol level was 0.18 percent, which is more than twice the legal limit in Florida.
After the accident, Tufano reportedly stayed in intensive care for a few weeks. While in intensive care, the victim was treated for brain hemorrhaging, several broken bones, and a collapsed lung.
And while Tufano has made a partial recovery, his family members claim that he will never be the same, and expressed their disappointment that Bush only received a 51-month prison sentence.
Sources say that Bush pleaded no contest to a single charge, driving under the influence with serious bodily injury. In return for his plea, prosecutors agreed to drop six other charges stemming from the March accident.
But the prison sentence won’t be his only punishment. In addition to his prison term, Bush will have his license revoked in Florida for 10 years, since this is his third DUI conviction in the last decade. Bush will also have to pay a nominal amount of court costs.
Bush’s legal troubles, however, extend beyond his criminal conviction. Sources say that Trufano’s family has filed a $5 million personal injury lawsuit against Bush and the teammate who allowed him to drive his car without a license.
According to Shannon Moore, Tufano’s daughter-in-law, she and her family are “not too confident” that Bush won’t “do it again,” referring, of course, to the likelihood that Bush will continue to drive drunk after he is released from prison.
In addition, Moore pinned some of the blame on the Tampa Bay Rays, which signed Bush to a minor-league contract in 2010.
In her words, Bush “wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the Rays, so I think the family is a little upset with the Rays, knowing Matt Bush’s history, all the DUIs, why would they bring him to this area?”