A New York millionaire tried to flee to Venezuela after a fatal drunk driving accident in the United States.
“He clearly intended to flee, there’s no question about it,” said Tom Spota, Suffolk District Attorney. “It was only because of the intervention at our request of the United States Marshals service that he was arrested. Otherwise, he would be on the sailboat right now.”
According to CBS News, Sean Ludwick, if convicted, faces up to 32 years in prison.
Although Ludwick attempted to flee the U.S. — which sees the average drunk driver operate a vehicle under the influence roughly 80 times before their first arrest — his intended destination of Venezuela has plenty of drunk driving concerns of its own.
As the 2017 Major League Baseball season approaches, the MLB is trying to warn its younger players, specifically players from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, to put an end to drunk driving.
At the start of the 2016 MLB season, 82 players were Dominican and 63 players were Venezuelan. These players, especially the younger ones, end up having a significant amount of money for the first time in their lives. Unfortunately, they don’t always use their wealth wisely, often getting themselves into a lot of trouble during the off-season once they’re back in their home countries of Venezuela or the Dominican Republic.
“The laws here are a lot more lax, in terms of speeding and drinking and driving,” said Johnny DiPuglia, vice president of international players for the Washington Nationals. “The culture down here is more accepting of that lifestyle. If you get pulled over here, and you have money, you can usually buy your way out.”
The Chicago Tribune states that in addition to the two former MLB players who died in auto crashes in their home countries, Kansas City Royals stay pitcher Yordano Ventura (25) and former top prospect and Cleveland Indians player Andy Marte (33), four more minor league players were killed in vehicle accidents in 2016.
Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports that Twins third baseman Miguel Sano (23) has decided to give up alcohol following the tragic loss of so many of his contemporaries. A minor league pitcher in the Minnesota Twin’s organization, Norman Landa (22), died in Venezuela as a passenger in the vehicle his father was driving. Although alcohol was not a factor in that accident, the lax DUI, seat belt, and speeding laws don’t necessarily promote safe driving.
In addition to drunk driving, distracted driving can often be just as dangerous. Young people spend a significant amount of time staring at their cell phones and technological devices. Of all mobile media time, phone apps account for 89% and 11% is attributed to other websites. And that’s not even taking texting into consideration. If anyone, professional athlete or not, gets behind the wheel after a drink or takes their eyes away from the road, someone could end up losing their life.
“Nothing is difficult in life,” Sano said. “If you pay attention and you listen to what other people say, you can learn a lot. I try to learn from certain people every day.”