Former Cardinal Scott Spiezio was sentenced in a California courtroom this morning to three years probation after pleading guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and hit-and-run, according to court records.
The charges stem from a car crash Dec. 30 that occurred about 200 yards from Spiezio's luxury high-rise condo in Irvine, Calif.
Spiezio must also pay $390 in fines, attend an alcohol program, go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, perform 80 hours of community service, and pay an undisclosed amount to a victim-witness emergency fund, according to records filed in Orange County Superior Court.
Charges of battery, assault, driving under the influence while blood is more than 0.08 percent alcohol and assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm were dismissed.
The Cardinals released Spiezio on Feb. 27 after he was charged in the case. The Cardinals have agreed to pay Spiezio's $2.4 million salary for this season plus a $100,000 buyout of next season's option.
He is now playing for the Atlanta Braves' minor-league team in Richmond, Va. It was not immediately clear how the probation would affect his status with the team. A story in Sunday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution said Spiezio, during an interview, hinted at the plea deal and said he didn't anticipate it would keep him from playing.
According to prosecutors, Spiezio left a bar, got into his 2004 BMW and tried to drive home while under the influence of alcohol. He was accused of speeding, cutting across several lanes, crossing through the oncoming traffic lanes, driving over a curb and crashing into a fence.
Spiezio was also accused of running away from the crash scene. He ran to a friend's condo, vomited in his friend's room and -- when the friend said something about the vomit -- Spiezio became angry and attacked his friend, punching him repeatedly and throwing him against a wall, prosecutors alleged.
He was quoted Sunday in the Journal-Constitution as saying, "You pay for mistakes you make. You learn from them. That's how I learned how to play baseball. I made a lot of mistakes in the game. I don't advise people to make as big a mistake as I've made out in California, but it's definitely something I've learned from."
Last August, Spiezio was placed on Major League Baseball's restricted list and submits to a rehabilitation program to address alcohol and drug abuse. He returned to the Cardinals lineup in September.
Spiezio's lawyer, Paul S. Meyer, said in a statement: "We are pleased that the criminal matter has now been settled." He said the penalties were fair and would allow Spiezio to continue playing baseball.
"Scott appreciates the opportunity to demonstrate his good faith and commitment to a successful season," he said. STLtoday - Spiezio gets 3 years probation for DUI, hit-and-run