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Jim Leyritz Trial: DUI Manslaughter Case of Former Yankee Begins with Jury Selection

In this photo released on Thursday July 2, 2009, by the Broward County Sherrif's Office, former major league player Jim Leyritz is seen. Leyritz who is facing trial for DUI manslaughter charges, was arrested for battery and domestic violence in Davie, Fla., Thursday morning. (AP Photo/Broward County Sherriff's Office, HO)
AP/Broward County Sherrifs Office
Jim Leyritz Trial: DUI Trial of Former Yankee Begins with Jury Selection
Jim Leyritz (AP Photo/Broward County Sherriff's Office, HO)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (CBS/AP) Prosecutors and the defense attorney for former Yankee Jim Leyritz in his DUI manslaughter trial began interviewing prospective jurors Monday in Broward County Circuit Court in Florida.

Leyritz is accused of driving drunk in December 2007, running a red light and crashing into a vehicle driven by 30-year-old Fredia Ann Veitch. The fatal crash happened just after 3 a.m. and Leyritz had reportedly been out that night celebrating his birthday.

Leyritz's SUV struck the side of Veitch's vehicle causing it to spin and roll. Veitch was thrown from her vehicle and died from her injuries, according to CNN.

Police administered and videotaped field sobriety tests at the scene and allege that the ballplayer failed the tests. His defense says he was not impaired at the time. His blood was taken more than three hours later and his blood alcohol level was .14.

There is some dispute over whether Leyritz had a yellow or a green light; the defense maintains that Veitch was driving without her headlights on, texting and receiving calls, and not wearing her seatbelt when she ran the red light.

Although both sides concede that Veitch was intoxicated at the time of the crash - her autopsy showed her blood alcohol level was .18 - a judge ruled last month that Veitch's conduct and state of mind are not relevant to the issue of whether she had a red or green light, .

Leyritz's attorney is barred from telling the jury that Veitch was intoxicated, that she did not wear her seat belt and that she may have been distracted by calls and texts on her cell phone.

Leyritz settled a wrongful-death lawsuit with Veitch's family in May.

If convicted, Leyritz faces a faces a maximum 15-year prison sentence.