The man police say was driving drunk when he ran a red light and struck a car, killing a Major League Baseball pitcher and two others has been charged with murder.
Andrew Thomas Gallo, 22, was charged with three counts of murder, driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a crime, the Orange County district attorney’s office announced Friday. Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart was among those killed in the crash in Fullerton, California, early Thursday morning. Adenhart was beginning his first full season in the majors and had pitched his fourth Major League game hours earlier. Gallo, whose blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit, according to police, faces up to life in prison if convicted on all charges. According to the DA’s office, Gallo was driving a minivan 65 mph in a 35 mph zone at about 12:35 a.m. Thursday. He was on probation and his license had been suspended after a previous drunk-driving charge. Watch Adenhart’s agent describe his friend » Authorities say he ran a red light and hit the car Adenhart was in, killing the pitcher, 20-year-old California State University student Courtney Stewart and law student Henry Pearson, 25. A fourth victim, 24-year-old John Wilhite, a former baseball player at California State, remained in critical condition Friday. A driver in a third car suffered minor injuries.
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Adenhart died at UC Irvine Medical Center, where he underwent surgery, according to spokesman John Murray. The Angels’ game Thursday night with the Oakland A’s was postponed at the direction of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. “Major League Baseball is in mourning today upon the news of this tragedy that has taken Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others,” Selig said in a statement that accompanied the announcement. “Nick was just 22 years of age, with a wonderful life and career ahead of him.” After the wreck, Gallo fled the scene, according to the district attorney. He was captured about 30 minutes later. Adenhart pitched in a game against the Oakland A’s Wednesday night in Anaheim, California, making what was characterized as a “brilliant effort” despite the Angels’ 6-4 loss, according to Major League Baseball’s Web site, MLB.com.
In his fourth major league start, Adenhart pitched a scoreless six innings, allowing seven hits, three walks and five strikeouts. “The Angels family has suffered a tremendous loss today,” Tony Reagins, the team’s general manager, said in a written statement. “We are deeply saddened and shocked by this tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Nick’s family, friends, loved ones and fans.”