The trial of DUI defendant Andrew Gallo is now focused recently on whether Gallo knew that driving drunk was a dangerous decision just before he hit and killed Nick Adenhart, a pitcher for Major League Baseballs’ Anaheim Angels, and two other people.
The prosecution in the case, in its closing statements, made the claim that Gallo knew the dangers of what he was doing, and that he cared only about himself, according to an article in the Associated Press.
Deputy District Attorney Susan Price told the jury in the California DUI case that Gallo “made the decision to get intoxicated beyond the point of any reason.”
The defense argued that Gallo did not act out of malice, and did not mean to kill anybody. According to the defense, Gallo thought that his stepbrother would be the designated driver, and only drove after his stepbrother became intoxicated as well.
Gallo was in a state of blackout brought on by excessive drinking.
Price replied by saying, “He doesn’t get rewarded for three free murders because he chose to get too drunk. The car keys weren’t forced upon him. They weren’t glued to his hand.”
The prosecution allege that Gallo and his stepbrother drank beer and took shots at three different bars over the course of several hours before he ran a red light at 65 miles per hour and struck the car in which Adenhart was a passenger.
Adenhart was killed, as were his friends Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson. Their car was allegedly T-boned by Gallo’s car. Stewart and Pearson were killed instantly, while Adenhart died while in surgery. Earlier that evening Adenhart had pitched his first game of the season for the Anaheim Angels.
Jon Wilhite was the fourth passenger in the car and the only survivor. He has endured a long rehabilitation after skull and spine injuries.
Gallo has pleaded not guilty to three counts of second degree murder. According to the prosecution, his blood alcohol content was three time over the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle.
If he is convicted of the charges, which include others for fleeing the scene and DUI-related charges, he faces 50 years in jail.
This week’s DUI stories feature a poor parenting decision, and an active night for a man charged with 3 DUIs in a single evening of driving.
Baby On Board
It is all too common in the world of DUI news to hear about a parent’s use of poor judgment. Not only do they allegedly drive drunk, but they do so with a child in the car with them.
In Fort Myers, Florida, Brittney Locke is charged with DUI and other crimes, after police say she was stopped on the interstate while driving under the influence, according to ABC 7.
According to police, Locke was stopped after witnesses called police, having witnessed an accident on the highway. The driver left the scene, witnesses said, and police found Locke parked along the side of the road near an exit, with metal sheared off the side of the car.
She also had an infant in the car with her, in a car seat.
Police noted that she appeared to have trouble keeping her eyes open, and said she didn’t know what she’d hit to cause the damage to her car. She failed a field sobriety test.
She claimed to be on the way to see the child’s father, to get money from him. She also told police she was exhausted, and that she had to be up early to visit an area methadone clinic as a part of addiction treatment.
Police allegedly found a Xanex tablet in the car, a prescription bottle of ibuprofen and a plastic straw that, according to ABC, “appeared to be coated with drug residue.”
A relative took control of the child. Locke is charged with DUI, DUI property damage for the guard rail she allegedly hit, child cruelty, drug possession and drug equipment possession.
A 3 DUI Charge Night
According to KGMI in Whatcom County, Washington, a man is facing 3 DUI charges after a single night of activity.
Tommy Ryser allegedly wrecked his pickup truck on the road, where police found it at around 8 p.m. on a Monday night. Then, police received a call that another accident had been reported.
It was a red VW Golf that had crashed into a guardrail.
Who pulled up to that accident site but Ryser, driving a tow truck. He had a cut on his face, according to police, and was found to be intoxicated.
According to KGMI, Ryser was arrested for and charged with crashing both disabled vehicles, and with driving drunk to the crash sites, in order to tow them back home.
In a DUI case in Kentucky, a judge in the case acquitted a man suspected of DUI because of a burp.
According to the Courier-Journal, a judge found Bertrand Howlett not guilty of DUI because the judge had a personal recollection from his experience as a prosecutor of DUI cases years ago that a burp at the wrong time could skew the results of a Breathalyzer test.
Based on that recollection, Howlett was acquitted of the charge that stemmed from when police pulled him over after, according to officials, he was seen speeding and almost driving off the road. Police said he smelled like booze and that he failed a field sobriety test, and they charged him with DUI.
However, Howlett claimed that he had burped just before his blood alcohol content was tested back at the jail—a test in which he blew a 0.15. That burp, he contended, was enough to skew the results of the test. The judge in the case agreed. Police had not, in the judge’s mind, waited long enough after Howlett’s burp for the test to be accurate.
In testimony, Howlett said that the burp wasn’t a loud one, and that in fact no one may have been able to hear it. The machine used to measure his blood alcohol content stated in the manual that police should observe a suspect for 20 minutes before a test is given, in order to make sure that the only substance tested is air from the lungs.
If the test subject regurgitates, for example, police should wait 20 minutes before proceeding.
The DUI case in Kentucky was without a jury, so the judge was left to decide on the matter. He sided with the idea that the burp had skewed the test results, based on his time as a DUI prosecutor for six years while he was an assistant county attorney.
That decision has since moved to the Supreme Court of the state, not to appeal the DUI case decision, but to question whether a judge can admit as evidence a piece of his or her own knowledge. The county attorney’s office called the judge’s use of his own personal knowledge a “manifest injustice.”
Clearly Howlett wasn’t the only one left with a bad taste in his mouth.
Michael Penachio was driving his Mercedes Benz over 100 miles per hour down the highway when he crashed into and killed a single mother and journalist, Danielle Baker in 2007.
Penachio was drunk driving down the Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago, Illinois when the avoidable tragedy struck, according to the Chicago Tribune article.
Now Penachio will do his time: 5 years in prison. The DUI sentence comes after several years of plea negotiations that frustrated Baker’s family. Ultimately, however, Penachio pleaded guilty to reckless homicide in exchange for the five-year prison sentence. He could have been sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.
Penachio spoke to the court and to Baker’s family. “Mr. and Mrs. Baker, I’m so sorry for all the pain and sorrow I have brought to your lives. I’m sorry that it has taken this long for you to hear me say it.”
The agreement took so long because a new judge was selected in the case, and then the case was subject to numerous delays.
Penachio sought to get a sentence that didn’t include jail time, so that he could keep his job as a financial broker and maintain the health insurance that helped fund care for his son, who has cerebral palsy.
The father of the victim, Derrick Baker, said that he was glad that this chapter of the ordeal was over, and he accepted Penachio’s apology.
“It meant a lot to me, it really did,” he said. “As I said before, it would be a worse feeling to know that someone had no remorse for their actions, and it did do me a lot of good to hear it. I believe he was sincere. I wish him no harm, and I hope that he is able to move on with his life as well.”
Penachio set aside $54,000 as a part of settled civil suit, as part of a college fund for Danielle Baker’s daughter. She is four years old.
“This will never be over for my daughter,” Baker said. “She will never be back with me, but this part of it is over. I’m glad it’s over. I feel for his family as well, and I hope everybody is just able to heal from this and everyone just gets a chance to move on.”
Paris Hilton has faced public embarrassment before, and no we’re not talking about her reality TV series with Nicole Richie. She’s had sex tapes revealed, been arrested for DUI and even spent a little time in jail.
Now, though, after her boyfriend was stopped for suspected DUI, she could be facing the most serious stumble of her life, as she faces felony drug possession charges.
Police allegedly found a bindle of cocaine in her purse while she took a bathroom break at a nearby casino, according to People.
The car that Hilton was riding in at the time of the traffic stop was driven by her boyfriend, nightclub owner Cy Waits. The police officer on the scene said that he smelled marijuana smoke wafting from the vehicle and pulled it over.
Waits was later arrested, on suspicion of misdemeanor driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
In the meantime Hilton asked if she could be taken to the Wynn Las Vegas hotel. Officers granted her request, and it was while Hilton was taking lip balm out of her purse that an officer saw the small bundle that he suspected could have been cocaine.
It turned out to be .8 grams of cocaine. The purse also contained cigarette rolling papers that are typically used to roll marijuana joints and a cracked tablet of the asthma drug Albuterol, which Hilton said she had a prescription for.
Hilton claimed that the purse was not hers, that she had borrowed it from a friend of hers. Some of the items in the purse were hers, and some were not. The rolling papers were hers, she said, as well as cash and credit cards and the Albuterol, but not the cocaine.
According to the report, Hilton claimed that when she saw the cocaine, she thought that it was chewing gum.
CBS reported that Hilton stated that she isn’t worried about the felony drug charges, which carry a maximum sentence of four years in jail. Reports say that the Las Vegas District Attorney has already filed the felony case against the heiress. The same DA put O.J. Simpson in the slammer on robbery charges.