Posted on December 2, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang has been arrested for driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a crash in Seoul, South Korea. Multiple outlets are reporting that the car Kang was driving crashed into a guard rail on his way back to his hotel. He then allegedly fled the scene.
The incident reportedly took place at 2:48 a.m. Friday morning in Korea. Korea Standard Time is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, so it was early Thursday afternoon in Pittsburgh when the even occurred. There was one passenger in the car at the time of the crash. After Kang allegedly crashed into a guard rail and fled the scene, his passenger told police that they were driving, not Kang. Police then used the vehicle’s blackbox to determine that Kang was the one who was driving. They are now investigating whether or not Kang made false statements to police.
Kang’s blood alcohol level was registered at 0.084, which is well above the limit in South Korea of 0.05 and slightly above the legal limit in the United States of 0.08. The 29-year old Kang was reportedly charged and then released from a South Korean police station. There is no word on the next step in the legal process, as details continue to trick out of Korea.
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“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. “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.”
Coonelly himself was arrested for driving under the influence in December 2011. At the time, his blood-alcohol levels were twice the legal limit of 0.08. He entered a program for first-time offenders and issued a public apology, but he retained his job with the Pirates.
This is Kang’s second brush with the law this year. In July, police in Chicago investigated Kang after he was accused of sexual assault. Kang allegedly met a woman on a dating app and invited her to his hotel room while the Pirates were in Chicago to play the Cubs. The woman alleges that she began fading in and out of consciousness after one drink, and that during that time Kang sexually assaulted her.
In September, police say they attempted to contact the woman to question her further but were unable to find her. The matter remains unsettled with both police and Major League Baseball, who could levy punishment against Kang whether charges are filed or not. It remains to be seen whether MLB or the Pirates may punish Kang for his arrest in Korea.
Kang has two years and $5.75 million left on the four-year deal he signed with the Pirates prior to the 2015 season. He also has a $5 million club option for the 2019 season. After finishing third in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2015, Kang again put up solid numbers in 2016, hitting 21 home runs, but missed time while enduring multiple stints on the DL. He’s pencilled in to be Pittsburgh’s primary third baseman in 2017. However, his future in baseball is in doubt following his arrest in Korea Friday for driving under the influence.