<
>

Spokeswoman: Sexson passed 2 Breathalyzer tests

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- First baseman Richie Sexson, one of the Seattle Mariners' prized offseason acquisitions, was cited for drunken driving last weekend after he was stopped by a Clark County sheriff's deputy.

Sexson, a free agent who signed a $50 million, four-year contract in December, was stopped Feb. 5 near his Clark County home.

A spokeswoman for Sexson, Linda Dozoretz, confirmed late Friday that the player was stopped for speeding and was later "charged with driving under the influence."

"However, Mr. Sexson was not, in fact, impaired, based on the two Breathalyzer tests he later took," she said in a statement. "We are confident that the prosecutor's office will amend the charges to conform to the facts of the case."

A county prosecutor's spokesman was not immediately reachable by phone Friday evening.

Sexson entered a plea of not guilty on Wednesday, according to District Court records.

Clark County sheriff's deputy Gregory Chaney said he initially stopped Sexson for speeding in his Mercedes, according to a report by KING-TV of Seattle and KGW-TV of Portland, Ore.

The deputy estimated Sexson's speed in excess of 50 mph in a 35 mph zone.

Sexson told the deputy he was in a hurry to get to his Vancouver-area home and then go to a Portland Trail Blazers basketball game, the deputy's report said, adding Sexson produced a registration for a Hummer, but not the Mercedes he was driving.

The deputy said in his report that he suspected Sexson was intoxicated after noticing a "strong odor of intoxicants emitting from the driver's window" and seeing an opened six-pack of beer bottles in the car's back seat.

The report said Sexson refused to take a portable breath test at the scene and then failed a series of field sobriety tests. An hour later, Sexson took two breath tests at the sheriff's office, registering a blood alcohol level of .069 and .070 -- both below Washington's legal intoxication threshold of .08 percent.

Deputies impounded Sexson's car, issued him a citation for DUI and then drove the player home, the television stations reported.

The sheriff's office said in a statement late Friday that Sexson submitted two breath samples and was then cited for DUI, but the statement did not provide the results of those breath tests. Repeated calls to sheriff's office spokesmen for additional details were not returned Friday night.

"It is our understanding Richie was originally stopped for driving over the speed limit," Mariners spokesman Tim Hevly said, adding that the team was told Sexson "took and passed two Breathalyzer tests."

A career .271 hitter with 200 home runs, the 30-year-old Sexson injured his left shoulder last season with Arizona and didn't play after May, batting .233 with nine homers and 23 RBI.

Seattle signed Sexson and Adrian Beltre as free agents in December.