Murder charged in Nick Adenhart crash

April 10, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Prosecutors on Friday filed three murder counts and drunken driving charges against a 22-year-old motorist who allegedly ran a red light and killed rookie Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others. Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said Andrew Thomas Gallo was also charged with driving under the influence causing injury, and driving with a blood-alcohol level over .08 percent causing injury with a sentencing enhancement that he personally inflicted great bodily injury. Gallo was also charged with fleeing the scene of a traffic accident causing death or injury.

Gallo could receive almost 55 years to life in prison if convicted of all charges, Rackauckas said.

"At the time of the crash, Mr. Gallo's blood-alcohol content is estimated to be almost three times the legal limit," he said.

Police say Gallo was driving a minivan that broadsided a car carrying Adenhart and three friends early Thursday.

Adenhart died at a hospital, just hours after pitching six scoreless innings in his season debut against the Oakland A's. He was to be remembered before the start of Friday night's Angels game against the Boston Red Sox.

"This Angel and his two friends were too young to be sent to heaven but the defendant selfishly and wrecklessly (got) behind the wheel after getting drunk. They didn't have a choice. Bad decision, blink of an eye, five lives ended, including the defendant's life is wrecked," Rackauckas told a news conference.

Gallo will likely be assigned a public defender at his first court appearance, scheduled for Monday.

Fullerton police Lt. Kevin Hamilton said in an interview that homicide detectives interviewed Gallo for just under four hours Thursday and learned what he had been doing before the accident. Hamilton would not disclose what detectives learned because of the ongoing investigation, but said "there was a lot to talk about."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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