Former All-Star first baseman Todd Helton was arrested in March of last year and charged with driving under the influence after a single-car accident in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Associated Press reports this morning that Helton pleaded guilty “to driving under the influence as a first offense” and has served 48 hours in jail as part of his sentence.
I find that “first offense” line to be interesting given that Helton pleaded guilty to a previous DUI, in Colorado, in 2013. In that incident Helton, who was still an active member of the Colorado Rockies, struck a median with his truck while driving home from a convenience store where he went to purchase lottery tickets after consuming, in his words, two Igloo cups of red wine. His blood-alcohol level was .102.
In the more recent incident Helton’s car struck a telephone pole. At the time of his arrest Helton told deputies that he had taken an Ambien a few hours earlier. There was a cup in Helton’s car that “had the odor of an alcoholic beverage.” Helton’s lawyer says that Helton had entered a treatment program soon after his arrest. I can only assume “the first offense” reference is because his previous conviction was legally expunged.
Helton, a five-time All-Star, played for the Rockies from 1997 through 2013, winning three Gold Gloves and collecting 2,519 hits and 369 homers. In 2000 he led the league in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, RBI, doubles, total bases and hits.