Prospect Cruz involved in tragic accident

September 23rd, 2020

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates prospect was involved in a tragic accident in the Dominican Republic on Monday that resulted in the death of three people.

According to the Diario Libre newspaper, Cruz was driving on Carretera Sánchez between Baní and San Cristóbal when a collision occurred between his vehicle and a motorcycle carrying three people, all of whom died in the accident. The report stated that the motorcycle was traveling in the left lane without any lights on.

“The Pirates are aware of the tragic accident in the Dominican Republic involving Oneil Cruz,” Pirates senior vice president of communications Brian Warecki said in a statement. “We have been in contact with Oneil and he is cooperating fully with the local authorities. We will provide an update as more information becomes available.”

Prosecutors determined that Cruz was under the influence of alcohol while driving and scheduled his hearing for Wednesday, according to an ESPN report. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, citing a police report, also reported that Cruz was arrested at the scene around 1 a.m. on Monday. The club has not yet commented on the reports that Cruz was allegedly driving under the influence.

Transit authorities said that all of those involved were traveling after the curfew that had been established by the Dominican Republic government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report by ESPN.

Cruz, 21, suffered no serious injuries, according to his agent, Rafa Nieves. The 6-foot-7 shortstop spent the summer working out at the club’s alternate training site in Altoona, Pa. That camp concluded last Thursday, and players went their separate ways. A few came to Pittsburgh, some headed south to an instructional league-style camp in Bradenton, Fla., and others, like Cruz, went home.

Cruz is the Pirates’ third-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, behind 2020 first-round Draft pick Nick Gonzales and rookie third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes.