Oscar Taveras, the rookie outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals killed in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic on October 26, was drunk at the time of the crash, according to the Dominican Republic’s attorney general’s office. Tessie Sanchez, a spokeswoman for the office, said, Taveras was “legally intoxicated when he crashed.”
Toxicology reports gathered by the Associated Press show that the 22-year-old’s blood-alcohol level was nearly six times the Dominican Republic’s legal limit when the crash occurred in Puerto Plata. His blood-alcohol level was .287 and the legal limit is .05. To reach a level so high, Taveras would have had to swallow the equivalent of 15 drinks in two hours. The crash in the 2014 Chevy Camaro also killed Edilia Arvelo, 18, Taveras’s girlfriend.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak released this statement:
Until we have the opportunity to review the official report, we cannot confirm details. While we are still working to obtain the facts, it won’t change the fact that this is a terrible tragedy. We have an obligation to use this as an opportunity to educate our players that they must take responsibility for themselves both on and off the field.”
Taveras appeared in 80 games in 2014, batting .239 with three homers and 22 RBI. His two proudest moments may have been against the World Champion Giants; he homered in his first game on May 31 against them and homered in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series against them.
Taveras signed with the Cardinals in 2008; MLB.com and Baseball America said he was the No. 3 overall prospect for 2014.
In 2007, the Cardinals instituted an alcohol ban in their clubhouse after pitcher Josh Hancock died in a car crash with a blood-alcohol level almost twice Missouri’s legal limit. By 2014, they had extended that ban to their locker room and team charter flights returning to St. Louis.
In 2011, a series of alcohol-related incidents prompted MLB to consider creating an alcohol policy. At least six players were charged with a DUI in 2011, including Shin-Soo Choo and Austin Kearns of the Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, Seattle Mariners infielder Adam Kennedy, Atlanta Braves right hander Derek Lowe, and A’s outfielder Coco Crisp.