Fullerton, CA Major League Pitcher Killed, Apr 2009
ANGELS PITCHER KILLED IN CRASH.
Anaheim, Calif. (AP) - Los Angeles Angels pitcher NICK ADENHART and two others were killed by a suspected drunk driver Thursday, a shocking end to the life of a rookie who had overcome major elbow surgery to realize his big league dreams.
The accident in neighboring Fullerton occurred hours after the 22-year-old pitcher made his season debut with his father in the stands, throwing six scoreless innings against the Oakland Athletics. The Angels ultimately lost the game, 6-4.
The team postponed Thursday night's game with Oakland, the final one of their season-opening series.
"It is a tragedy that will never be forgotten," manager Mike Scioscia said at an Angel Stadium news conference.
The Angels planned to pay tribute to the pitcher before Friday night's opener of a three-game series against Boston in Anaheim. They will wear a patch or emblem on their jerseys the rest of the season to honor him.
ADENHART'S father, Jim, a retired Secret Service agent, walked onto the field in the empty stadium Thursday and spent several moments alone on the pitcher's mound. Wearing a red sweatshirt, the Angels' color, he briefly covered his eyes with one hand.
Jim Adenhart also spoke during a closed-door meeting of players and team officials.
"He just wanted to say thank you for the opportunity, thank you for raising his kid in minor league ball on up through the system in the Angels' organization," outfielder Torii Hunter said.
NICK ADENHART was a passenger in a silver Mitsubishi Eclipse that was broadsided in an intersection about 12:30 a.m. by a minivan that apparently ran a red light, police said.
The impact spun around both vehicles, and one then struck another car but that driver was not hurt, police said.
The minivan driver fled the crash on foot and was captured about 30 minutes later. Police identified him as Andrew Thomas Gallo, 22, of Riverside, and said he had a suspended license because of a previous drunken driving conviction.
Preliminary results indicated Gallo's blood-alcohol level was
"substantially over the legal limit" of .08 percent, police Lt. Kevin Hamilton said.
Gallo was interviewed by investigators before he was booked in jail Thursday on three counts of murder, three counts of vehicular manslaughter, felony hit-and run and felony driving under the influence of alcohol, Hamilton said.
Gallo is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday at North Justice Center in Fullerton. It is not known if he has an attorney.
On Friday, the Orange County district attorney planned a 5:30 p.m. ET news conference, during which charges will be announced.
ADENHART died in surgery at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center. HENRY NIGEL PEARSON, of Manhattan Beach, a 25-year-old passenger in the car, and the driver, 20-year-old COURTNEY FRANCES STEWART, of Diamond Bar, were pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
STEWART was a student at nearby Cal State Fullerton, where she was a cheerleader in 2007-08.
Another passenger, 24-year-old JON WILHITE of Manhattan Beach, was in critical but stable condition Friday at UC Irvine Medical Center
and doctors believe he will survive, hospital spokesman John Murray said.
Murray said WILHITE, who played baseball from 2004 to 2008 at Cal State Fullerton, was being medically sedated.
STEWART'S mother said her daughter and ADENHART had known each other since last season but were not dating as far as she knew, Hamilton said.
The mother said ADENHART and the others had gone dancing at a club about a block away from the crash site, although the crash scene appeared to indicate the car was heading in the direction of the club, Hamilton said.
An ESPN Sports Story 2009-04-10