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Color Of Traffic Light Argued In Leyritz Case

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) - The DUI manslaughter trial of former major league baseball player Jim Leyritz will resume Tuesday morning in a Broward courtroom, after a day of testimony focused on whether a witness saw a traffic light as red or yellow. The state could rest its case as early as Tuesday.

The 46-year old Leyritz's blood alcohol level was reportedly more than double the legal limit three hours after the December 2007 crash that killed Fredia Ann Veitch. According to the arrest affidavit Leyritz ran a red light and crashed into Veitch's sport-utility vehicle, throwing her from the SUV.

Bruce Barger, a passenger in Leyritz's car the night of the accident said the light was red when the accident happened. But, questions arose after he had to be recalled to clarify his remarks. He reiterated that the light was red, but Leyrtiz's attorney seized the moment.

"You knew the light was red when you went through it, but it was yellow when you entered the intersection," asked Leyritz's attorney. "Yes," Barger said.

Jurors learned in the trial last week that the victim was just as drunk as Leyritz. The exact blood alcohol limit for Veitch is unknown because it was ruled inadmissible before the trial.

In addition, Leyritz smelled of alcohol, he did not seem drunk at the crash site.

Jurors do not know that Veitch was not wearing a seatbelt or that she was receiving cell phone calls and text messages in the minutes leading up to the crash.

If convicted, Leyritz faces from four to 15 years in prison.

Last May, he settled a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Veitch's family for $250,000 in insurance and $1,000 in monthly payments out of his own pocket for 100 months.

Leyritz, primarily a catcher in an 11-season big league career, is best remembered for hitting a dramatic home run for the New York Yankees in the 1996 World Series.

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