Cardinals' La Russa charged with drunken driving

Associated Press • Mar 23, 2007 at 12:06 PM

JUPITER, Fla. - St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was arrested Thursday on a drunken driving charge after police said they found him asleep inside his running sport utility vehicle at a stop light.

La Russa gave two breath samples and had a blood alcohol content of 0.093 percent, Jupiter police said in a statement. Florida's legal driving limit is 0.08 percent.

"I'm not sure what type of statement to give," La Russa said after his team's 2-1 spring training loss to the Florida Marlins on Thursday. "I've been scribbling stuff.

"Last night's situation is the opposite of feeling good. It was an embarrassment, so I apologize to anyone who is close to me, members of the Cardinals organization, our fans. I regret it, take responsibility and I'm not sure there is anything else I can say."

Undercover officers saw La Russa's SUV sitting partially in an intersection around midnight and not moving despite two green lights, police said. Officers knocked on the window and La Russa did not initially respond.

The SUV was in drive and running, with La Russa's foot on the brake, police said. When he woke up, the officers asked him to get out of the SUV. La Russa was cooperative during his arrest, police said.

The 62-year-old La Russa was booked into the Palm Beach County jail on the misdemeanor count about four hours later, according to police and jail records. He was released about 8:30 a.m. after posting $500 cash bond, said Paul Miller, a Palm Beach County sheriff's office spokesman.

When La Russa walked onto the field before Thursday's game, many fans stood and applauded.

"That was a really nice gesture when the game started," La Russa said.

"I guess because over the years, you've done things so you don't want it to go in the other direction and that's a couple steps last night, so."

The Cardinals said in a statement that the team takes "these matters very seriously" and apologized for any embarrassment and distractions.

"The Cardinals organization remains supportive of Tony," the team said.

La Russa is a four-time manager of the year and led the Cardinals to the World Series championship last season. He also won the title in 1989 with the Oakland Athletics and has won three other pennants. His 2,297 wins over 28 seasons with the Chicago White Sox, A's and Cardinals is third on the career list.

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