Adenhart driver had alcohol in blood

Updated: June 10, 2009, 11:30 PM ET
Associated Press

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Alcohol was found in the woman who was driving Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart before they were both killed in a collision in April, according to toxicology tests released Wednesday.

The tests show Courtney Stewart, 20, consumed alcohol shortly before the crash, but the coroner's office could not determine how much she drank, and prosecutors were doubtful the finding could be used at the trial of the man charged with their deaths.

Stewart, along with Adenhart and Henry Pearson, died when their car was broadsided April 9 in Fullerton by a minivan allegedly driven by Andrew Gallo. Police said Gallo's blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit at the time of the crash.

"The bottom line is that [Stewart's alcohol consumption is] completely irrelevant; nothing she did contributed to this crash," said Orange County Deputy District Attorney Susan Price. "It's not uncommon when you're dealing with late-night crashes that both parties have alcohol in their systems. That doesn't absolve the defendant of criminal responsibility."

Price said pathologists testified at the grand jury hearing at which Gallo was indicted with three counts of murder that they can't draw any conclusions about whether Stewart was driving under the influence from such data.

She accused Gallo's defense attorney, Randall Longwith, of leaking the report to media without the context of the full pathology report, causing further pain to Stewart's family.

"I've been talking to them all afternoon. They're devastated that this report is up on the Internet. Her mother said she would never have asked to see these details, let alone have the whole world see them," Price said.

A message left with Longwith was not immediately returned Wednesday night.

An autopsy found low levels of alcohol in Stewart's stomach and in her blood, but not in her brain, liver and eye fluid. Pathologists found a .06 percent blood-alcohol level in blood taken from Stewart's arteries after her death. The legal limit for drivers under age 21 is .05.

The coroner's office did not return a message left Wednesday night.

Adenhart, 22, died in surgery hours after he made his season debut by pitching six scoreless innings in a loss to the Oakland Athletics in Anaheim.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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