Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang had a suspended two-year prison sentence upheld in a South Korean court Thursday, which will further complicate his efforts to rejoin the MLB team during the 2017 season.
The Associated Press (via USA Today) reported the Seoul Central District Court denied Kang’s appeal after he asked for a reduction in punishment. The conviction on fleeing the scene of a crash and driving while drunk has prevented him from re-entering the U.S. based on visa issues.
In December, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported it was the third DUI-related issue involving Kang since 2009. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington admitted the team was unaware of the previous arrests before signing the infielder in 2015.
Even if Kang obtains permission from South Korea to travel to the Unites States to play baseball, it is unclear whether the United States will grant him entry given the current administration’s tougher stance on visas.
From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang’s arrest in South Korea last week on a charge of driving under the influence — his third DUI arrest since 2009 — will trigger a mandatory assessment from a joint treatment panel under baseball’s collective bargaining agreement.
The Pirates said Monday that they did not know about Kang’s two prior DUI arrests before they signed him in January 2015…
According to a State Department official, the consular officer reviewing visa cases might require a medical examination to determine whether there is a visa ineligibility if someone has been charged with drunk driving. Kang received a work visa and played for the Pirates in 2015 and this year after the two previous DUIs. The official said the State Department cannot discuss individual visa cases…
Kang was charged with leaving the scene of a DUI accident Friday morning in Seoul after he crashed into a guard rail. Local police told the Yonhap News Agency that a friend of Kang’s in the passenger seat initially told police that the friend was driving, but the car’s black box identified Kang as the driver. The friend, identified only by the surname Yoo, told police the swap was done out of goodwill, but if police determine Kang asked or forced Yoo to claim responsibility, they both could face abetting charges.
Kang’s blood alcohol level was 0.084, above Korea’s legal limit of 0.05. In Pennsylvania, the legal limit is 0.08. Kang’s license is subject to revocation because he committed his third DUI offense, and he cannot reacquire it for two years.
“I’d like to apologize to everyone who is disappointed with me,” Kang said in a statement Friday. “Today, I got behind the wheel after drinking, and committed an irrevocable mistake. I panicked at the moment of the accident and did something that I never should have done.”
Kang also has been the subject of an investigation by Chicago police of allegations of a sexual assault in June, when the Pirates were in town to play the Cubs.
From the Chicago Tribune:
St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras apparently was driving drunk when he died along with his girlfriend in a fatal crash in the Dominican Republic last month.
A toxicology report indicated that Taveras’ blood-alcohol content was .287, more than five times the legal limit of .05 in the country, during the Oct. 26 accident on a highway in Puerto Plata, said Tessie Sanchez, a spokeswoman for the Dominican Republic Attorney General’s office, in an interview with the Associated Press.
Taveras’ girlfriend, 18-year-old Edilia Arvelo, was with him at the time of the crash.
The 22-year-old Taveras was considered one of the top prospects in baseball this past season. He made his major league debut with the Cardinals and batted .239 with three home runs and 22 RBIs in 80 games.
Two weeks before the accident, Taveras hit a home run that tied Game 3 of the National League Championship Series against the San Francisco Giants.
Here are some recent notable DUI stories:
Former Packer TE Colt Lyerla was arrested in Washington for allegedly driving under the influence of drugs.
Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera was arrested in California for driving under the influence of marijuana.
Former “Partridge Family” star David Cassidy plead guilty to misdemeanor DWI (which had been reduced from felony DUI) in upstate New York. He was sentenced to community service and alcohol treatment.
A woman who had just been sentenced to probation for an aggravated DUI allegedly drove while intoxicated and struck an Illinois State Trooper who was on the shoulder of I-294. The woman then attempted to leave the scene and then hit an SUV, causing it to flip over, injuring seven passengers. She is now charged with multiple counts of aggravated DUI and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.
An Ohio judge, who is known for conducting DUI trials at a high school as a warning to students not to drink and drive, was arrested for DUI. I am concerned to hear about this judge’s practice of holding trials to demonstrate the evils of drunk driving. This implies to me that the judge has already made up his mind before the trial. I doubt he would want to find someone not guilty in that environment, lest he might be teaching the kids that it is okay to drink and drive so long as you are not impaired. Hopefully he learns a lesson about how important it is to have an impartial trial instead of a show trial.