For one Florida woman's family, the criminal trial of former Yankees player Jim Leyritz is the last step toward closing a tragic chapter in their life. In 2007, Levritz crashed into the woman at an intersection. She had not been wearing her seatbelt and died on the accident scene.
A blood test administered three hours after the car accident showed his blood alcohol level at nearly twice the Florida limit. This affirmed his story that he had been drinking with some friends that night. His trial begins today and if found guilty of his charges, he could face up to 15 years in prison.
For the jury, there will be a several disputed issues brought to their attention. The first is whether Leyritz' stoplight was red or yellow and whether the woman ran a red light. The second is whether Leyritz was in fact intoxicated when the field sobriety tests were administered. But despite the conflicting arguments, one thing is certain: a woman was killed when Leyritz' vehicle crashed into hers.
Fatal car accidents are especially grim for a victim's family. This woman left a husband and two children behind. Because her death was the result of the negligence of another, her family filed a wrongful death claim against Leyritz. Though he has agreed to pay a settlement claim that will help financially, it is of little emotional comfort to a family who has lost their mother.
Though both the prosecution and defense agree that the woman had been intoxicated and not complying with several traffic laws, these facts cannot be brought up in front of the jury during the trial. Even if the jurors do believe that the woman was partially responsible for the accident, Leyritz could still be convicted of DUI manslaughter.
Source: CNN.com, "Former Yankees player faces trial in deadly DUI wreck," Beth Karas, 25 October 2010