Pirates’ Jung-ho Kang charged with fleeing scene of DUI crash in Korea
Third baseman charged with driving while driving under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene in Seoul
Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung-ho Kang faces charges in South Korea after crashing a luxury car while driving under the influence of alcohol and then leaving the scene early Friday.
Police are also investigating whether Kang asked a friend to falsely report who was driving the vehicle, according to an official at Seouls Gangnam district police station, who didnt want to be named, citing office rules.
Jeeho Yoo of Koreas Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday that Kang, already under investigation for the incident, had been charged.
We have been made aware of the very serious charges filed against Jung Ho Kang early Friday morning in Seoul, South Korea, Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement issued on Thursday.
We are extremely disappointed in Jung Ho and in his decision process during this matter. I know firsthand how foolish and dangerous it is to drive under the influence and am most thankful that, as we understand it, no one was injured.
We will have further comment once we have been able to gather all of the relevant facts and speak with the player.
According to police, Kang didnt stop after driving a rented BMW into a guardrail at around 2:48am while returning to his hotel in southern Seoul. The crash damaged the guardrail, and the vehicle, and the debris hit a car parked nearby, whose driver reported the matter to police.
A 29-year-old man who was in Kangs vehicle initially claimed he was behind the wheel. But police questioned Kang after the vehicles security camera showed him driving it.
Police said Kangs blood alcohol level at the time of the crash would have been 0.084 percent, beyond the countrys 0.05 percent legal limit. Kang has so far denied asking or intimidating the friend into falsely reporting to police, said the police official.
Kang, 29, signed a four-year, $11m deal with the Pirates in 2015 after Pittsburgh paid his Korean club, the Nexen Heroes, $5m to negotiate with the slugger. He hit .287 with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs for the Pirates during his rookie season, which ended abruptly on September when Kang injured his left knee while at the receiving end of a takeout slide by Chris Coghlan of the Chicago Cubs.
Kang hit 21 home runs and 62 RBIs in 103 games in 2016, but his second season in the majors also included an off-the-field incident in Chicago in June when a 23-year-old woman reported being assaulted by Kang inside a hotel. The woman said she blacked out, and then drifted in and out of consciousness as he sexually assaulted her. The womans name has not been released and Kang has not been charged.
The incident in Seoul adds to a turbulent week for the Pirates, who are also exploring trade offers for All-Star centerfielder Andrew McCutchen. The 2013 NL MVP, a five-time All-Star, is coming off the worst season of his career and still has two years remaining on a contract that will pay him $14m in 2017 and carries a $14.75m club option for 2018.
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