SEOUL A Seoul court has dismissed Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Kang Jung-ho’s appeal against a drunk driving sentence and upheld an eight-month suspended jail term imposed in March, local media reported on Thursday.
Kang, who had two previous convictions for drunk driving, was charged with driving while intoxicated and fleeing the scene of an accident after his car crashed into a guardrail in the Gangnam district of Seoul in the early hours of Dec. 2.
Kang’s sentence was suspended for two years, meaning he will avoid imprisonment if he stays out of trouble, but he had appealed the decision in a bid to have the sentence reduced to a fine.
“Considering all circumstances, we don’t believe the original sentencing was outside reasonable limits,” Yonhap News quoted the court as saying in its decision.
“All extenuating circumstances were reflected in that ruling. Since he’d been fined twice for DUIs and fled the scene in his third DUI accident, we can’t accept his argument that the original ruling was too harsh.”
Kang’s driving license has also been revoked.
The U.S. Embassy in Seoul has reportedly rejected Kang’s application for a work visa and the court decision may make it more difficult for him to rejoin his Major League Baseball team this season.
Kang, who did not speak to reporters when he left court, played for nine seasons in South Korea before signing for the Pirates in 2015.
(Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)