ANAHEIM, Calif. - Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others were killed by a suspected drunk driver yesterday, a shocking end to the life of a rookie who had overcome major elbow surgery to realize his big-league dreams.
The accident in neighboring Fullerton occurred hours after the 22-year-old pitcher made his season debut with his father in the stands, throwing six scoreless innings against the Oakland Athletics. He left with a 4-0 lead, but the Angels ultimately lost the game, 6-4.
The team postponed last night's game with Oakland, the finale of a season-opening series.
"It is a tragedy that will never be forgotten," manager Mike Scioscia said at an Angel Stadium news conference.
Adenhart's father, Jim, a retired Secret Service agent, walked onto the field in the empty stadium yesterday and spent several moments alone on the pitcher's mound. Wearing a red sweatshirt, the Angels' color, he briefly covered his eyes with one hand.
Jim Adenhart also spoke during a closed-door meeting of players and team officials.
"He just wanted to say thank you for the opportunity, thank you for raising his kid in minor- league ball on up through the system in the Angels' organization," outfielder Torii Hunter said.
Nick Adenhart was a passenger in a silver Mitsubishi Eclipse that was broadsided in an intersection at about 12:30 a.m. by a minivan that apparently ran a red light, police said.
The impact spun around both vehicles. One then struck another car, but that driver was not hurt, police said.
The minivan driver fled the crash on foot and was captured about 30 minutes later. Police identified him as Andrew Thomas Gallo, 22, of Riverside, Calif., and said he had a suspended license because of a previous drunken driving conviction.
Preliminary results indicated Gallo's blood-alcohol level was "substantially over the legal limit" of .08 percent, police Lt. Kevin Hamilton said.