published Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Former Chattanooga Lookout Yasiel Puig's case dismissed in 97 mph speeding incident

Charges were dismissed against a 22-year-old right fielder who was a finalist for Rookie of the Year this past season but first arrested for speeding and reckless driving in April.

Yasiel Puig Valdes, a Cuban native, was arrested on April 28 when a Chattanooga police officer clocked him going 97 mph in a 50 mph zone in the 3200-block of Amnicola Highway.

Puig was driving a BMW X351 SUV for a friend who had been drinking he told police through an interpreter.

The officer arrested Puig for "wanton disregard" for public safety due to his high-speed driving at 1:01 a.m.

Prosuector Neal Pinkston dismissed charges against Puig after the ballplayer had performed 12 hours of community service in Los Angeles between his arrest and today. Puig had a valid drivers license and insurance, which negated the charge of financial responsibility.

Puig had no prior driving infraction or criminal record to this incident. Pinkston said cases with similar facts and background are handled the same, regardless of the status of the offender.

"We want to treat people fairly," Pinkston said.

The hearing has been continued under an agreement between the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office and Puig's attorney Mike Little.

Puig declined to comment.

In the report the officer also noted that Puig drifted out of his lane and then back, which triggered the reckless driving charge.

Puig played with the Lookouts in the first two months of the 2013 season before being called up to the Dodgers, according to the minor league team's website. Once in the big leagues he grabbed attention with high batting averages in the early season and highlight plays from the field.

For more see tomorrow's Times Free Press.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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