Remarks by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas

April 10, 2009

Remarks by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas:

Press Conference- Andrew Gallo Charges

As the District Attorney, over the years I have seen some heart wrenching things.  They don’t get much tougher than this.  This Angel and his two friends were too young to be sent to heaven, but the defendant selfishly and recklessly got behind the wheel after getting drunk, and they didn’t have a choice.  Bad decision, blink of an eye, five lives ended, including the defendant’s.   

*22-year-old rookie Angel’s pitcher Nicholas James Adenhart, dead.

* Courtney Stewart, a 20-year-old Cal State Fullerton student and former Titans cheerleader, dead.

*Henry Pearson, a 25-year-old law student with dreams of becoming a sports agent, dead.

*Jon Wilhite, a 24-year-old, former player for the Titan’s baseball team, is fighting for his life in a hospital. 

Since January of this year, we have had five separate fatal DUI related car crashes in Orange County, seven dead.  So senseless.

Today, my Office filed three counts of murder against 22-year-old Andrew Thomas Gallo from San Gabriel.  We have also filed one count of driving under the influence causing injury and one count of driving with over a .08 percent blood alcohol causing injury with the sentencing enhancements that that the defendant personally inflicted great bodily injury. We also filed one count of fleeing the scene of a traffic collision involving death or permanent injury. 

If convicted of all counts, Mr. Gallo could spend almost 55 to life in prison.  And whether he is inside or outside a prison, he will never escape the psychological prison of shame knowing his selfish actions killed three young people in their 20s and almost killed his step-brother and another man.

Mr. Gallo was convicted of driving under the influence in May 2006 in San Bernardino County and was on probation when this crash occurred. As a result of his conviction, he was ordered to complete an alcohol education program. 

The defendant has acknowledged that he knew the dangers of drinking and driving based on his participation in this alcohol program. By now, everyone should know if you drink and drive, you could potentially kill someone. 

Mr. Gallo had no business being on the road early Thursday morning,  because his license had been suspended due to the DUI conviction.  At 12:23 a.m.  Mr. Gallo was driving a maroon 2004 Toyota Sienna minivan with his 21-year-old step-brother as his only passenger. 

He was traveling approximately 65 miles per hour east bound on Orangethorpe Avenue. The speed limit there is 35 miles per hour.  He is accused of running a red light and crashing into Miss Stewart’s car, which then collided with a third car.  The driver of the third car sustained minimal injuries with moderate damages to his car. 

Knowing that he had caused this crash, Mr. Gallo cowardly fled the scene on foot without checking on the welfare of those he had just hurt.  Within thirty minutes of the collision, approximately two miles away, on the shoulder of the 91 freeway, he was apprehended by Anaheim Police Department.  When contacted by the police, he again attempted to flee.