Driver charged in Adenhart's death
Three counts of murder could lead to 55-year sentence
The Orange County District Attorney has charged the driver of the minivan that killed Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others with three counts of murder, among a number of felony violations that could place him in prison for almost 55 years.
In addition to the three homicide charges, Andrew Thomas Gallo, 22, of San Gabriel, Calif., was charged with one felony count of fleeing the scene of a traffic collision involving death or permanent injury, one felony count of driving under the influence causing injury and one felony count of driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent (the legal limit in California) and causing bodily injury.
The charges were issued on Friday by the Superior Court of Orange County. Gallo is being held in lieu of a $1 million bond, pending his arraignment on Monday at the North Justice Center in Fullerton, Calif."As the District Attorney, over the years I have seen some heart-wrenching things," DA Tony Rackauckas said during a media conference. "They don't get much tougher than this. This Angel and his two friends were too young to be sent to heaven, but the defendant selfishly and recklessly got behind the wheel after getting drunk, and they didn't have a choice. Bad decision, blink of an eye, five lives ended, including the defendant's." Adenhart was a passenger in a car struck by Gallo, who ran a red light in his Toyota Sienna minivan at 12:23 a.m. PT on Thursday. The others who died are driver Courtney Stewart, a 20-year-old Cal State Fullerton student and former Titans cheerleader, and Henry Pearson, a 25-year-old law student with dreams of becoming a sports agent. Jon Wilhite, a 24-year-old former player for the Titans baseball team, is in critical condition.
Adenhart had started for Los Angeles just a few hours earlier, pitching six shutout innings in a game the A's came back from a 4-0 deficit to win, 6-4, with three runs each in the eighth and ninth. Gallo was charged with traveling at 65 mph in a 35-mph zone and with a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit, Rackauckas said. He also fled the scene of the accident. Gallo was convicted of driving under the influence nearly three years ago in San Bernardino County and was on probation when Thursday morning's crash occurred. As a result of the earlier conviction, he was ordered to attend an alcohol-education program. "The defendant has acknowledged that he knew the dangers of drinking and driving based on his participation in this alcohol program," Rackauckas said. "By now, everyone should know if you drink and drive, you could potentially kill someone. "Knowing that he had caused this crash, Mr. Gallo cowardly fled the scene on foot without checking on the welfare of those he had just hurt. Within 30 minutes of the collision, approximately two miles away, on the shoulder of the 91 freeway, he was apprehended by Anaheim Police Department. When contacted by the police, he again attempted to flee."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.