LEE COUNTY — A pitcher in the Boston Red Sox organization was arrested Saturday on DUI charges after authorities say he led Lee County sheriff’s deputies on a chase at over 100 mph.
Around 4:45 a.m., deputies clocked a Chevrolet Silverado going 76 mph in a 45 mph zone on Estero Parkway. The driver, later identified as John Drake Britton, 23, of Magnolia, Texas, continued toward Three Oaks Parkway and crossed a bridge over Interstate 75, reaching speeds of up to 111 mph, according to an arrest report.
A deputy following Britton activated his lights and began to follow the Silverado.
Britton did not stop. Instead, he continued down Estero Parkway toward Ben Hill Griffin Parkway and crossed the intersection, reports said. He jumped a curb, drove down a small decline and powered through a barbed wire fence. Britton continued for another quarter of a mile down a dirt road, according to the arrest report.
When he finally stopped, Britton put his hands out the window and had a “dazed look on his face,” according to the arrest report. The arresting deputy also said Britton had “slurred speech” and “ bloodshot watery eyes.” When the deputy asked for Britton’s license, reports say he first handed over his debit card.
When asked if he had been drinking, Britton said “yes, I have been.”
Britton is facing charges of DUI, DUI property damage and reckless driving. He posted bond, which was set at $2,250 for all three charges, about six hours after the arrest.
“This is a matter that the Red Sox take very seriously, and it is being addressed,” the team said in a prepared statement. “The club will not make further comment on this matter.”
Britton was scheduled to pitch in Sunday’s game against the New York Yankees. He was scratched after the team learned of the arrest. He was designated for assignment on Monday.
A 23rd round draft pick by Boston in 2007, Britton was in his first big league camp with the Red Sox after going 4-7 with a 3.72 ERA with Portland, the team’s Double-A affiliate.
Britton is not the first professional baseball player to land behind bars during spring training in Southwest Florida.
Last March, Matt Bush, a pitcher in the Tampa Bay Rays system, was arrested in Charlotte County on DUI charges after Florida Highway Patrol troopers said he struck a motorcycle and fled the scene. He pled no contest and was sentenced to a 51-month prison sentence.
The day after Bush’s arrest, Bobby Jenks, a pitcher with the Red Sox at the time, was arrested on reckless driving and hit-and-run charges after leaving a Fort Myers strip club. He was adjudicated guilty.
In March 2006, Francisco Liriano, a pitcher with the Minnesota Twins at the time, was arrested on a DUI charge in Cape Coral. He was adjudicated guilty.