(MUG SHOT) Ex-Yankee ‘Doc’ Dwight Gooden Arrested For DUI…Had 5-Year-Old Son In Car…

Ex-Yankee ‘Doc’ Dwight Gooden Arrested For DUI…Had 5-Year-Old Son In Car…

By Colin Stephenson
The Star-Ledger
March 24, 2010

Former Mets star Dwight Gooden was arrested Tuesday by the Franklin Lakes police for driving under the influence of drugs after he was involved in a two-car accident about 8:50 a.m. on Old Mill Road.

According to the police report, Gooden, who lives in Franklin Lakes, was charged with being under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance; driving under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance; endangering the welfare of a child; driving while intoxicated, with a child passenger; leaving the scene of an accident; reckless driving; failure to keep right and failure to change his address on his driver’s license.

Gooden, arrested after leaving the scene, had his 5-year-old son, Dylan, unrestrained in his car at the time of the crash in which no one was hurt.

The 45-year-old Gooden was released on his own recognizance until a municipal court hearing. The police would not release the type of drug.

The driver of the other car, Ronald Schmidt, 71, of Franklin Lakes, said he recognized Gooden right away.

“I looked at him, and I knew it was Dwight Gooden,” Schmidt told WABC-TV in New York. “I think he was surprised I recognized him, (and) he shook my hand.”

Gooden left the scene to take his son to school, according to Detective Lt. John Bakelaar. Police stopped Gooden a short distance from the site of the accident after someone called 911.

Gooden had a hearing this morning on the child endangerment count and the charges were forwarded to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office for review according to police.

Gooden has battled the demons of alcohol and cocaine addiction since he was a star pitcher for the Mets back in the mid-1980s. He first entered drug rehab in 1987, the year after the Mets won their last World Series, and has been arrested numerous times since his playing career ended in 2001, following his release by the Yankees.

He had appeared to have turned his life around since spending six months in jail for a parole violation in 2006.

He was invited back, with many other former Mets stars, for the final game at Shea Stadium in 2008, and last fall, he took a job as vice president with the Newark Bears. He left that job in November, when the Mets contacted him about returning to them as a spring training adviser or guest instructor.

“He was moving on to bigger and better things,’’ Tom Cetnar, the Bears senior vice president, said today. “That being said, he did great things for us while he was here, and we’re saddened to hear about this latest news, though we don’t know all the details.’’

Cetnar said Gooden, in his two months with the Bears, did a lot of work in the community in Newark, appearing at schools and doing Toys for Tots programs. It was that work that prompted the Mets to ask Gooden back, Cetnar said.

Ultimately, he did not take the Mets up on their offer to join them because his wife was pregnant and he did not want to leave for spring training when she was expecting.

Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz, reached today in Port St. Lucie, Fla., where the Mets beat the Houston Astros, 5-2 in a spring training game, said, “We’re aware of the story,’’ when asked about Gooden, but declined further comment.

The Associated Press and The Record contributed to this report.

Colin Stephenson may be reached at cstephenson@starledger.com

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