Pirates President DUI Charges Acknowledged

Pittsburgh Pirates team president Frank Coonelly has returned to the field after being charged with DUI.

The charges were issued to Coonelly on Dec. 22 in Ross Township, Penn., at one count each for drunk driving, driving the wrong way, careless driving, and having blood-alcohol content of at least .16, according to

The 51-year-old waived his right to a hearing to Feb. 1 and was released on his own recognizance after being arrested for the misdemeanors and summary offenses. His arraignment is March 20 in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.

Coonelly released a statement ahead of baseball spring training on Thursday.

"My actions that evening were irresponsible and wrong," said the part owner of the Pirates. "I take full and sole responsibility for them. There is no excuse for ever driving under the influence of alcohol."

Coonelly was senior vice president and general counsel of labor for Major League Baseball before joining the Pirates. In 2007 he was hired shortly after Bob Nutting took control of the Pirates from former owner Kevin McClatchy.

"My conduct that night was uncharacteristic to my personally held values," continued Coonelly. "I will learn from this serious lapse of judgment and support the efforts of those groups that work to prevent the tragedies that can result from driving under the influence."

Coonelly's statement explained that he had apologized to his family, as well as to the Pirates main shareholder, Bob Nutting, and others in the Pirates front office. Coonelly contacted Nutting "immediately" after the incident, according to the statement released by the team's chairman of the board.

"I expressed my extreme disappointment in his actions," said Nutting. "I know… He clearly understands the seriousness of his poor decisions, the harm that could have been inflicted on others and the embarrassment his mistakes have caused the organization."

Nutting continued to explain that Coonelly had made a grave mistake but that it would not happen again.

"In the years I have gotten to know Frank personally I have learned that he is a dedicated husband and father who has strong values that are grounded in his family, religion and hard work," added Nutting. "These mistakes are not characteristic of the man that I know and I am confident he has learned from them."

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