Facing the consequences
Strawberry sentenced to probation, community service
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Darryl Strawberry, appearing more upbeat than he has in weeks, was sentenced to a year's probation and 50 hours of community service Tuesday for causing a traffic accident while under the influence of pain killers.
Strawberry, 38, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of leaving the scene of an accident and driving under the influence. He will serve the sentence concurrently with his house arrest at a Tampa drug-treatment center.
His sentence also included $250 in court costs and mandatory attendance at a DUI school.
"Today is part of the consequences," the suspended baseball star said following a brief sentencing by Hillsborough County Judge James Dominguez. "I'd rather face it head-on and move forward.
"I just hope one day I won't have any more of these issues."
Strawberry, who is undergoing treatment for colon cancer, was released from jail last week after serving 21 days for violating house arrest for a 1999 drug and prostitution-solicitation arrest. He now wears an electronic monitor.
In his recent courthouse appearances, Strawberry has appeared drawn and depressed. But Tuesday, he arrived seemingly in good spirits and eagerly signed autographs for fans outside.
The misdemeanor charges stem from a September accident near Strawberry's north Tampa home. He took prescription pain killers shortly before setting out for a meeting with his probation officer, and hit a street sign and a car while weaving through traffic.
No one was injured, but the accident led Florida Circuit Judge Florence Foster to change Strawberry's probation to two years' house arrest.
Strawberry was again arrested in October for leaving the residential treatment center where he was serving the house arrest to use crack and Xanax with a friend. Days later he made a stunning courtroom admission to the judge that he'd used the drugs and quit his chemotherapy treatments because he wanted to die.
Tuesday, he said that after he made those statements fans responded with an outpouring of support. He said even other drug addicts and people battling cancer wrote him, telling him they, too, felt desperate and encouraged him to hang on.
Strawberry said he is beginning to feel hopeful again and spends time reflecting on his life.
"Sometimes I sit and wonder, 'How did I get myself into this mess? I'm not a bad person,"' he said.
The process of fighting the dual problems of drug addiction and cancer is a difficult daily struggle, he said. He is taking his recovery slowly.
"We didn't ask to be affected by alcohol and drugs in our lives," he said. "But we have to learn from it."