DRUNKEN DRIVER FOUND GUILTY OF MURDERING THREE AND CRITICALLY INJURING A FOURTH, INCLUDING ANGELS BASEBALL PITCHER

Orange County District Attorney
Press Release


Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release
Case # 09ZF0061


 


 
September 27, 2010

Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

DRUNKEN DRIVER FOUND GUILTY OF MURDERING THREE AND CRITICALLY INJURING A FOURTH, INCLUDING ANGELS BASEBALL PITCHER

 

SANTA ANA – A drunken driver was convicted today of murdering three people, including a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball player, and injuring a fourth victim in an early morning car crash. Andrew Thomas Gallo, 22, San Gabriel, was found guilty by a jury of three felony counts of murder, 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 .08 percent blood alcohol causing injury. The sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury against Jon Wilhite were found true. Gallo has a prior San Bernardino County conviction for driving under the influence in 2006 and was on probation for this conviction at the time of the crash. 

 

Gallo faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison at his sentencing on Dec. 10, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

 

At approximately 12:23 a.m. on April 9, 2009, Gallo was speeding in a minivan at approximately 65 mph in a 35 mph zone while under the influence of alcohol, on probation, and driving on a suspended driver’s license. The defendant’s license had been suspended due to a prior conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol. Gallo’s 21-year-old step-brother was the passenger in the minivan. Gallo was driving eastbound on Orangethorpe Avenue in Fullerton and ran through a red light, crashing into a Mitsubishi that was legally passing through the intersection, pushing it into a third car. The driver of the third car sustained minimal injuries with moderate damage to his car. 

 

Gallo murdered three people in the crash and seriously injuring a fourth. The three murdered victims include 22-year-old Nicholas Adenhart, a pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim playing in his fifth professional season, 20-year-old Courtney Stewart, a student and former Titans cheerleader at California State University, Fullerton, and 25-year-old Henry Pearson, a law student working toward becoming a sports agent. The fourth victim, 24-year-old Jon Wilhite, a former player for the Titans baseball team, was critically injured. He is now in stable condition.

 

After crashing into the victims’ car, Gallo fled the scene on foot. He was arrested less than 30 minutes later approximately two miles away on the shoulder of State Route 91 by officers from the Anaheim Police Department. When contacted by officers, Gallo attempted to flee again and run from the police. Two hours after the crash, Gallo had a blood alcohol level of .19 percent.

 

During the trial, the defense argued that Gallo did not have specialized knowledge of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol. The People presented evidence that Gallo had been involved in an alcohol-related single-vehicle crash in 2005, for which he was convicted of driving under the influence in 2006. As a result of that conviction, Gallo signed in his guilty-plea waiver of rights form an acknowledgement that he could be prosecuted for murder if he killed someone while driving under the influence of alcohol. He was also ordered as a result of that conviction to reside in a men’s residential Christian rehabilitation facility, where he was counseled about the dangers of drinking and driving.