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Continuing saga

Strawberry remains hospitalized after cocaine binge

Click here for more on this story
Posted: Tuesday April 03, 2001 6:36 PM
Updated: Wednesday April 04, 2001 10:41 PM

  St. Joseph's Hospital Darryl Strawberry remains in a psychiatric ward at St. Joseph's Hospital while doctors evaluate him. AP

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Darryl Strawberry spent the four days he was missing doing cocaine with a female friend and armed men who took his jewelry and abandoned him in a motel room, the former baseball star told his probation officer Tuesday.

In a report to the judge who will decide if Strawberry will go to prison, Florida probation officials said Strawberry tested positive for cocaine use and violated the terms of his house arrest in his four-day foray.

The report, released late Tuesday, came as Strawberry continued to be held in a psychiatric ward at St. Joseph's Hospital while doctors evaluate him.

Under arrest for violating his probation, he will be sent to the Hillsborough County Jail and held without bail once doctors declare him mentally stable.

The probation report is the first official accounting of Strawberry's Thursday night disappearance from the drug treatment center where he was serving two year's house arrest.

Strawberry told his probation officer that he was picked up at the center by a woman from an Alcoholics Anonymous program named Beverly, who was supposed to take him to the meeting.

"... Instead she began smoking crack cocaine and he couldn't resist the temptation," probation officer Shelley Tomlinson wrote in her report. "He said she took him to a nearby motel where there were a total of five men who had guns and took his jewelry."

Strawberry Chronology
Feb. 22, 2000 -- A Florida Department of Corrections report says Strawberry tested positive for cocaine on Jan. 19.

Feb. 28, 2000 -- Suspended for one year, his third cocaine-related suspension from baseball in five years.

March 1, 2000 -- For the third time in 10 years has checked himself into a drug rehabilitation clinic. Left after 3 1/2 months to support his wife and children.

July 27, 2000 -- Under investigation for possible "major violations" of his probation stemming from his April 1999 drug arrest.

July 28, 2000 -- A CT scan suggests the possibility his colon cancer has spread to lymph nodes that were nearby his original tumor.

Aug. 11, 2000 -- Surgery to remove stomach tumor.

Sept. 11, 2000 -- Arrested in Tampa after car crash.

Oct. 25, 2000 -- Arrested in Tampa, accused of violating parole after testing positive for cocaine and violating curfew.

Nov. 3, 2000 -- Tells a judge he has lost his will to live and stopped chemotherapy while in jail.

Nov. 9, 2000 -- Sentenced to 30 days in jail. After release must return to the substance-abuse treatment center under house arrest.

Nov. 21, 2000 -- Sentenced to a year's probation and 50 hours of community service for causing a traffic accident while under the influence of pain killers in Sept. Will serve the sentence concurrently with his house arrest at a Tampa drug-treatment center.

March 30, 2001 -- Arrest warrant is issued for leaving the drug treatment center where he had been serving two years' house arrest.

April 2, 2001 -- Arrested at St. Joseph's hospital and charged with violating a probation warrant after a four-day disappearance from a drug treatment center.

Click here for complete chronology 

Strawberry said they continued to use cocaine until Friday, when the men -- who are not identified -- decided it was time to leave. The men took Strawberry with them as they drove around town and bought more drugs, the report said. The men later drove to a motel in Orlando, leaving Strawberry there when they eventually left.

Joe Ficarrotta, Strawberry's attorney, was not immediately available for comment on the probation report. Earlier in the day, Ficarrotta said he was relieved that Strawberry was located.

Neither the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office nor Strawberry's attorney know how long Strawberry will be at St. Joseph's Hospital, where he is undergoing a mental health evaluation before being sent to jail.

"It's a tough position for the judge to be in," Ficarrotta said. "Whether he relapses one time or 10 times, it's the same thing. It's whether you fight drug addiction by putting people in prison or do the right thing and get them the medical treatment they need."

Meanwhile, Strawberry's friends rallied around the troubled man, whose latest disappearance will send him back to jail and possibly to state prison.

In addition to his legal troubles, Strawberry also is undergoing an aggressive, experimental treatment for colon cancer.

"He wants to get himself clean, he wants to go on and live a normal life like everyone else," said Mark Kennedy, who once shared an apartment with Strawberry at the Tampa drug treatment center where the former slugger was serving two years house arrest.

"If he's told me once, he's told me 50 times: 'I wish I wasn't who I am,'" Kennedy said. "He says he wishes he was a regular guy."

Strawberry disappeared from Health Care Connection, where he was serving two years of house arrest on drug possession and solicitation of prostitution charges.

He also was on probation for a misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of an accident stemming from a September collision caused when he was driving under the influence of pain killers.

Strawberry resurfaced Monday when two friends went to Daytona Beach to get him and check him into the hospital.

One of those associates, Ray Negron, a Cleveland Indians consultant, said he visited Strawberry Tuesday.

"He's doing better today," Negron said. "He's doing OK and he's getting the care that he needs."

Negron said he has been fielding telephone calls from former teammates and friends who are concerned about Strawberry. Among them were Indians second baseman Robert Alomar and pitcher Bartolo Colon.

Related information
Darryl Strawberry Chronology
Strawberry arrested in hospital for disappearing act
All-Time Stats: Darryl Strawberry
Strawberry's attorney, Joe Ficarotta, argues that his client does not deserve jail time. (290 K)
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