La Russa charged with DUI from Feb. arrest
CHICAGO -- White Sox manager Tony La Russa was recently charged with suspicion of driving under the influence as a result of a traffic stop in February. ESPN.com first reported the incident on Monday night, citing an affidavit filed by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
"Because this is an active case, we cannot comment further at this time," said White Sox senior vice president of communications Scott Reifert via text on Tuesday, after confirming their knowledge of La Russa's legal situation.
According to the affidavit, La Russa was stopped near the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on the night of Feb. 24, and he told the officer he had hit something and had a tire blown out. After a field sobriety test, La Russa was taken into custody.
La Russa declined to submit to a breathalyzer test or provide a sample of his blood or urine to test his blood-alcohol level, according to the affidavit, and the officer obtained a search warrant to take two tubes of La Russa's blood. The case was not filed until Oct. 28, one day before La Russa was re-hired by the White Sox, because it initially was filed in the wrong jurisdiction, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office told ESPN. La Russa was cited for driving under the influence and registering a blood-alcohol content of .08 or more, which is a misdemeanor.
The White Sox say they were aware of the charges when they announced his hiring as the team's 41st manager on Oct. 29. That hiring marked the beginning of La Russa's second stint with the club, after managing the team from 1979-86. "A high-ranking White Sox official," told USA Today's Bob Nightengale that La Russa is in no danger of losing his position as Sox manager or receiving any discipline from the club. La Russa has not been found guilty of the current charge and is entitled to due process.
The hiring of La Russa, who turned 76 on Oct. 4, has been a divisive topic among White Sox fans. La Russa, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014, has 2,728 victories and three World Series titles, but he has not managed since winning a championship with the Cardinals in '11. La Russa and Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf have been close friends since he first managed with the organization.
This is the second DUI charge against La Russa, who was charged in 2007 after falling asleep behind the wheel while stopped in traffic in Florida. La Russa pleaded guilty to that particular charge.