The Adenhart Verdict: A Pall Remains
We now know the man whose drunk driving resulted in the death of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and his two friends and the serious injury of a third has been found guilty of three counts of second degree murder.
We also know it is a relief to many friends and family members who felt the verdict was deserved. Yet even this hasn’t erased the terrible memory of that awful day 17 months ago.
A pall still remains, and it may never completely go away.
You look back now, and it all seems so . . .senseless. Why would Andrew Gallo, who at 23 already had a previous DUI conviction and was driving with a suspended license, get behind the wheel of a car under those circumstances? We know the answer. It’s because he was under the influence again, driving while registering more than three times the legal limit of alcohol in his body.
He made a mistake, an unforgivable mistake. and it deeply affected the lives of countless people.
Adenhart had the highest public profile because he was a 22 year old who only hours before had pitched the best game of his life, working six shutout innings in an Angels start that hinted at his enormous potential.
But he was only one of the three killed by Gallo’s reckless driving. Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson, two of Adenhart’s friends who were helping him celebrate, also perished in the Fullerton accident. Jon Wilhite, another friend, was seriously injured, has had to undergo major surgeries and is still recovering from massive injuries.
Gallo was also deemed guilty of single counts of drunken driving, hit and run driving and driving under the influence.
His attorneys said after the decision that they believed justice wasn’t served in the case. They reiterated that Gallo hadn’t intended to kill anybody.
That’s true, but his complete disregard for the law resulted in this tragedy. You don’t go out drinking, let alone get behind the wheel, when you’ve already had a conviction for a DUI and your license was suspended.
The result is that his life, too, has been ruined. He faces up to 50 years in state prison, and even among those who felt justice had been done there was a sense of empathy for Gallo’s parents and friends.
So the total count is three lives ended far too soon, a fourth still recovering from the physical and mental anguish and a fifth sentenced to spend decades behind bars.
All for a night of too many drinks and a tragic early-morning decision.
How sad. You think about it now, and the pain for all involved is palpable. Unfortunately, it won’t be going away any time soon.
Neither will the pall.
— STEVE BISHEFF