James Loney arrested on suspicion of DUI, says Highway Patrol
James Loney was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence last month, authorities said Thursday.
Loney sideswiped three cars on the 101 Freeway in Sherman Oaks, stopped in the fast lane, passed out, then awakened and tried to flee the scene, only to crash again, said Leland Tang, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol.
The Nov. 14 accident came to light on the final day of baseball’s winter meetings. General Manager Ned Colletti said he had spoken to Loney about the incident.
Colletti said the Dodgers are “still looking into” the matter but added that he didn’t anticipate it altering Loney’s status on the team.
“Not unless something turns up that hasn’t turned up,” Colletti said.
Tang said officers extracted a blood sample to test for drugs and alcohol but that the test results were not yet available. The city attorney’s office is investigating the incident and deciding whether to file criminal charges.
As a player with more than five years of major league experience, Loney is eligible for salary arbitration. The deadline for teams to tender contracts for next season to arbitration-eligible players is Monday. If the Dodgers don’t tender Loney a contract, he will become a free agent.
Based on his conversation with Loney earlier this week, Colletti said he was comfortable offering him a deal.
“He explained what had occurred,” Colletti said, without offering details.
Loney declined to comment through his agent, who also wouldn’t discuss the incident.
According to Tang, the accident took place around 6:12 p.m. on the 101 just west of the 405 Freeway.
Loney was driving his 2009 Maserati westbound when he sideswiped three vehicles and his car came to an abrupt stop in the fast lane, Tang said.
“The three parties involved in the collision, including the driver of a 2008 Mini Cooper, a Toyota Prius and Mercedes-Benz attempted to contact Mr. Loney, but according to their statements, he appeared to be unconscious,” Tang said. “He eventually awoke and he saw all the people standing around him. He then attempted to flee the scene.”
Amid Monday evening rush-hour traffic, Loney drove across all the westbound traffic lanes, collided with an Infiniti I30 and hit the sound wall on the right shoulder, Tang said.
A CHP officer who first contacted Loney noted in his report that Loney appeared to have “objective symptoms of being intoxicated or being under the influence of something.” Loney was arrested but never taken to a police station for booking because his behavior concerned emergency medical personnel. He was released to the custody of Sherman Oaks Hospital, where he underwent testing to determine whether he had a serious medical condition.
News of the incident, first reported by TMZ, diverted attention from what has been the latest of the Dodgers’ cost-conscious additions.
Right-hander Aaron Harang officially became the Dodgers’ projected No. 4 starter on Thursday. Harang is slated to be part of a rotation that includes Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly and Chris Capuano.
Similar to the deals signed by Capuano, Mark Ellis and Jerry Hairston, Harang’s two-year, $12-million contract is heavily back-loaded.
Harang will be paid $3 million next season and $7 million in 2013. The contract includes an $8-million option for 2014 that can be bought out for $2 million.
Harang could guarantee the third year of the deal could by pitching 360 innings over the next two seasons, including 175 in 2013. If the option vests, it could be worth anywhere from $7 million to $8 million, depending on the number of innings he pitches.
Hernandez reported from Dallas, Blankstein from Los Angeles.
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