Angels hope verdict will bring closure
It was 108 degrees in Anaheim on Monday, but Bobby Wilson was practically shivering when he saw a television report that the driver in the alcohol-induced crash that killed Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two friends was found guilty of second-degree murder.
“I got the chills — it was the same as when I got the call from Janet [Gigeous, Adenhart’s mother] that morning” of the April 9, 2009, accident, said Wilson, an Angels catcher and longtime friend of Adenhart. “I still have them. It’s terrible.”
The conviction of Andrew Thomas Gallo, a 23-year-old San Gabriel man who faces a potential sentence of 51 years to life in prison, produced a variety of emotions in the Angels’ clubhouse before Monday night’s 6-5 win over Oakland, including vindication, sadness and relief.
“I have mixed feelings,” said infielder Brandon Wood, a close friend of Adenhart, 22, and Henry Pearson, 25, who was also killed in the crash. “It’s a way for all of the families and us to get some closure, but it’s unfortunate all the way around.
“A kid goes to jail for maybe the rest of his life. If that’s not a wake-up call . . . you drink and drive, and now you have 50 years in a cell to think about what your drinking did one night. It’s a sad story.”
Pitcher Jered Weaver didn’t have much sympathy for Gallo, whose blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit at the time of the crash, in a Fullerton intersection.
“The guy obviously got what was coming to him,” Weaver said. “He deserves what he got. Hopefully, this will give everyone a little closure.”
The driver of the car in which Adenhart was a passenger, Cal State Fullerton student Courtney Stewart, 20, was also killed. The only survivor was former Titans catcher Jon Wilhite, who suffered extensive injuries but was in the Santa Ana courtroom when Monday’s verdict was read.
“Any way you look at it, it’s not going to bring Nick back,” Wilson said. “It’s a loss for everybody. We lost Nick, Courtney and Henry. I know the Gallo family probably feels the same way; they’re losing their son. But at least he can’t do this again to somebody else’s family, to somebody else’s friends.”
Something good can come out of the accident, Wood said, if it deters others from drinking and driving.
“If I have a buddy who’s having more than a beer or two at my place, he’s going to get a cab,” Wood said. “It’s ridiculous. How much does a cab cost? Even if it’s $100, would you rather pay that or get a DUI and maybe spend the rest of your life in jail?”
Hideki Matsui drove in the tying run with a pinch-hit single, and Erick Aybar (hit by pitch) and Hank Conger (walk) forced in runs with the bases loaded during a decisive three-run seventh inning Monday. The Angels ended a four-game losing streak despite being outhit, 15-8.
Aybar, out since Sept. 15 because of a left groin injury, and third baseman Maicer Izturis, out since Aug. 19 because of an inflamed right shoulder, returned to the lineup, and both knocked in runs in a three-run second.
With the Angels mathematically eliminated, why risk aggravating injury by playing the infielders?
“We didn’t feel they’re at risk,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “They’ve been working out aggressively for several days. . . . These guys are ready to go, and we want them in the lineup.”
Show him the money
A team spokesman would not confirm a Fox Sports report that the value of Scioscia’s 10-year contract, which includes an opt-out clause after 2015, is about $50 million, but it is believed to be fairly accurate.