TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Police talked to relatives and acquaintances of Dwight Gooden for a third day Wednesday in their effort to find and arrest the former baseball star, who fled after being pulled over on suspicion of drunken driving.

Authorities say the 41-year-old Gooden was visibly intoxicated when he was pulled over for driving erratically near downtown Tampa early Monday. He twice refused to get out of the car for a field sobriety test, drove away suddenly and hasn’t been seen since, police said.

Officers have visited his two known residences in Tampa, made contact with family members, former drug counselors and every attorney who has represented him, and talked to his former employer, the New York Yankees, police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said.

Police don’t even know if he’s still in the Tampa area.

“It’s a sad situation for someone who obviously has a serious problem and is adding to his own problems by his actions right now,” McElroy said.

Gooden, who has a history of substance abuse and currently has a domestic violence charge pending in the court, is wanted on felony charges of DUI and fleeing police, and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest without violence.

The 1984 Rookie of the Year and the 1985 NL Cy Young Award winner while with the New York Mets, Gooden went 194-112 with a 3.51 ERA before retiring in 2001. He also pitched for the Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Gooden was arrested by Tampa police in 2002 on a drunken driving charge, but later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and received a year probation. He was charged with hitting his live-in girlfriend in March.

While playing with the Mets in 1994, Gooden was suspended 60 days for a positive cocaine test. The drug came up again in a test during his suspension and he was sidelined for the 1995 season.

He recently worked for the Yankees as a special adviser but quit in April.

Gooden’s nephew and fellow Tampa native, Yankees outfielder Gary Sheffield, said the family has “tried everything” to straighten him out. “I’ve done everything I can possibly do,” Sheffield said Tuesday.

AP-ES-08-24-05 2042EDT


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