The driver who ran a red light and caused the Fullerton car accident that killed 22-year-old Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, 25-year-old Henry Pearson and 20-year-old Courtney Stewart, will face murder charges, The Orange County Register reports. A fourth victim, Jon Wilhite, remains in critical condition. Anthony Thomas Gallo, 22, is being held for murder, vehicular manslaughter, felony hit-and-run and drunk driving involving fatalities and great bodily injury. At the time of the April 9, 2009 fatal car crash, Gallo was also driving with a suspended license. His license was apparently suspended after a prior DUI conviction.
The fatal car accident occurred when Gallo ran a red light and struck a Mitsubishi car at the intersection of Orangethorpe Avenue and Lemon Street. Gallo attempted to flee the scene of the crash, but was arrested shortly afterward. Fullerton police say Gallo’s blood alcohol level was over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Gallo was also driving at 50 to 60 mph – way over the posted speed limit of 45 mph.
My heart goes out to the families of Henry Pearson, Courtney Stewart and Nick Adenhart for their tremendous loss. I offer my deepest sympathies to their families and friends. My prayers are also with young Jon Wilhite who is a former Cal State Fullerton baseball player. I wish him the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
It is illegal in California to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a): “It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.”
To me, all the anger and outrage over this tragic Orange County car accident is not surprising at all. This tragedy was clearly caused by one man who had no business driving. He had a prior DUI conviction. His license was suspended. He was intoxicated, speeding and ran a red light. And after he caused a car crash that killed three young people, Gallo fled because he knew he was in big trouble.
This incident only shows that there are still drivers on the road who may have had several violations and may have even had their driving privilege suspended or revoked. That, apparently, doesn’t stop them from getting drunk yet again and then getting behind the wheel!
I hope the families of the victims in this tragic incident are talking to a reputed Orange County car accident lawyer to find out more about their legal rights and options. Given Gallo’s driving record, I would be shocked if he has motor vehicle insurance. The best California personal injury lawyers will have an in-depth knowledge of insurance laws and how the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage could be applied to provide compensation. In this case, in lieu of Gallo’s insurance, the injured victims and/or their families could be covered under their own auto insurance policy’s uninsured/underinsured motorist clause. This is a complex subject, however, and is best handled by an experienced auto accident lawyer who has had a successful track record of resolving similar situations.