Former Mets and Yankees pitcher Dwight "Doc" Gooden was arrested Tuesday and charged with driving under the influence of drugs and leaving the scene of an accident, according to Franklin Lakes (N.J.) police.
His 5-year-old son, Dylan, was in the car.
According to the accident report, Gooden, 45, was traveling south on Old Mill Road at 8:50 a.m. when he struck a 2009 Mercedes from behind. The driver of the sedan was Ronald Schmidt of Franklin Lakes.
Schmidt, who was reached on his cell phone, said he wasn't injured. "It was an accident between Dwight Gooden and myself," he said. "That's all I can say."
Schmidt told WABC-TV: "I looked at him, and I knew it was Dwight Gooden. I think he was surprised I recognized him, [and] he shook my hand."
Gooden was driving a 2007 Chrysler Aspen SUV driven registered to Carl S. Calise of Old Tappan, N.J. Calise could not be reached for comment.
Gooden was charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance, endangering the welfare of a child, driving while under the influence of drugs, DWI with a child passenger, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident, reckless driving, failure to keep right and failure to notify change of address regarding his driver's license. He was released on his own recognizance.
"Give me a couple days, I've been advised not to talk [right] now sorry," Gooden said in a text message to Newsday.
According to the The Record (of Bergen County), Dylan was not restrained in the vehicle and hit his head. The extent of the injury is not known.
Tuesday's accident was the latest setback for Gooden, a three-time World Series champion, whose once-promising career has been blighted by periods of drug abuse and run-ins with the law.
He was sentenced to three years' probation in 1986 for battery on an officer and resisting arrest. A year later, he tested positive for cocaine at Mets training camp. In 1992, Gooden was one of three players accused of raping a woman at a home he rented for training camp - though the charge was later dropped. And he was suspended for the 1995 season by MLB after repeatedly violating drug programs.
A year after he retired in 2001, he was arrested in Tampa for DWI and driving with a suspended license, he was arrested for punching a girlfriend in 2005 and he spent almost seven months in prison in 2006 for violating his probation.
But Gooden, the 1984 Rookie of the Year and the 1985 NL Cy Young Award winner with the Mets, had claimed he was drug free in recent years. Last fall, he was hired as a senior vice-president with the minor league Newark Bears. He left that position after two months when the Mets invited him to serve as an adviser during spring training. The Mets said he hasn't been employed recently with the team.
"We're saddened by what's been reported so far," Bears senior vice-president Tom Cetnar III said.
Gooden, Frank Cashen, Davey Johnson and Darryl Strawberry will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame on Aug. 1 at Citi Field. The team declined to give an official comment yesterday, other than the organization is aware of the situation.
With David Lennon and Cody Derespina