Less than a month after the death of the St. Louis Cardinals’ rookie outfielder, Oscar Taveras, in a traffic accident, another Dominican baseball player was involved in a fatal accident in the Caribbean country.
Ronald Guzman, a minor-league Texas Rangers prospect, was driving a Ford Explorer that crashed on Tuesday morning against a motorcycle traveling driven by a 27 year old in the city of La Vega, according to the police.
"The young Eleazar García was killed when he was hit by the ballplayer Guzmán while driving a motorcycle. The incident occurred at 1 a.m. on Tuesday," said police spokesman Col. Jacobo Mateo Moquete.
Guzman, who is 20 years old, was reportedly unharmed and is cooperating with investigators. "The police have made [Guzman] available to the prosecutor," said Col. Moquete.
He will find out later on Wednesday if charges will be filed against him.
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Guzman signed a pro contract at age 16 that had a $3.5 million bonus. According to MILB.com, Major League Baseball’s official minor-league website, he was the 17th-best prospect in the Rangers’ system.
This season, he played for the Hickory (N.C.) Crawdads of the South Atlantic League, a Rangers single-A affiliate. In 492 plate appearances, he hit .218 with 6 homers and 63 RBI.
Deaths from traffic accidents are a serious problem in the Dominican Republic. Last year, the World Health Organization ranked the Caribbean country as one of top ones for traffic fatalities, with 41.7 per 100,000 people.
On October 26, Taveras died when he crashed his sports car against a tree. Also in the vehicle was his girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo. Breath tests showed that the rookie outfielder had blood alcohol levels that were more than five times the country’s legal limit.
Other notable traffic accidents involving Dominican ballplayers include José Oliva, a Braves prospect who died in a December 1997 crash; José Uribe, who played in the majors for 10 years and died in a 2006 accident; and former Mets reliever Ambiorix Burgos, who hit and killed two women while driving in the city of Nagua in 2008.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.
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