• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Driver in Adenhart fatal crash in court

April 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Andrew Gallo, the 22-year-old driver accused in the deadly accident that killed an Angels pitcher, was arraigned on Monday on a series of charges.Andrew Gallo wept through part of his court appearance on Monday afternoon. He is charged with three counts of murder, two counts of DUI, hit-and-run and driving with a suspended license.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Roger Robbins continued Gallo's arraignment until June 8. The judge increased Gallo's bail to $2 million.

After reading a brief statement, describing the accident as an accident, Gallo's defense attorney talked about his client's demeanor.

"I think you all saw his demeanor. He was distraught as can be," said Randall Longwith, Gallo's attorney. "I think his tears spoke volumes."

Family and friends of Courtney Stewart, one of the victims of last Thursday morning's crash, were in the courtroom.

"I didn't feel sorry for him in the least. I'm sure his attorney told him to do that," said Carrie Stewart-Dixon, Courtney's mother. "He has a big history of drinking, driving, evading ... not finishing his court-appointed rehabilitation. He escaped the law too many times. And I think that everybody has had enough of him escaping the law."

Authorities said the van Gallo was driving was traveling at about 65 miles per hour in a 35-mph zone when it ran a red light at a Fullerton intersection, broadsiding a Mitsubishi Eclipse carrying four people.

Police said Gallo's blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit that night.

The crash killed 22-year-old Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart just hours after his season debut at Angel Stadium last Wednesday night. He pitched six scoreless innings.

The other victims included 20-year-old Courtney Stewart, a Cal State Fullerton student, and 25-year-old Henry Pearson of Manhattan Beach. The only passenger in the Eclipse to survive was 24-year-old Jon Wilhite. He is still hospitalized, but his condition has been upgraded from critical to serious.

The four friends were on their way to a nightclub after the game.

Gallo is also facing charges for fleeing the scene immediately after the collision. He was on probation for a 2006 drunk-driving conviction, and as part of his sentence, he was ordered to attend an alcohol education program.

The Orange County district attorney said Gallo's decision to drive after getting drunk last week was selfish and reckless. In addition, because of the previous DUI conviction, Gallo is facing second-degree murder charges.

"If you commit an act that you know is dangerous, that could result in injury to other people, then you can be prosecuted for murder," said prosecutor Susan Price.

If Gallo is convicted on all charges, he could be sentenced to 55 years to life in prison.

The Fullerton Police Department is looking for any witnesses to aid in the investigation. If you have any information, you should call the department at (714) 738-6815.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


MORE LOCAL HEADLINES FROM ORANGE COUNTY

USEFUL LINKS:
SEND TIP || REPORT TYPO || TWEET @abc7 ||  WIDGET


Load Comments