The driver of the car that was carrying Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart when he died in a fatal crash had alcohol in her blood, officials said
But those findings do not necessarily mean that the young woman was was driving while drunk, they cautioned.
Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino released a statement Wednesday in response to news reports that 20-year-old Courtney Stewart was driving under the influence herself when Andrew Gallo, who is charged with murder and drunken driving, drove through a red light and collided his vehicle with the Mitsubishi Eclipse that Stewart was driving.
Amormino said the alcohol was detected in the post-mortem blood of Stewart "and also (in lower levels) in the stomach contents and the peripheral (artery) blood."
"However, alcohol was not detected in the brain, liver, and vitreous fluid of the eye," Amormino said. "The absence of alcohol in the brain, liver and eye fluid indicate that the alcohol level of the post-mortem chest cavity blood drawn at autopsy is due to diffusion from the GI tract and is not indicative of a level where conclusions about driving under the influence can be drawn."
"Alcohol was consumed by Ms. Stewart relatively close to the time of death, but the amount consumed is unknown," Amormino said.
Stewart's blood-alcohol level was initially reported on the website of the OC Weekly, which posted the toxicology report showing the underage woman had a post-mortem blood alcohol content of .16 percent -- which would be twice the legal limit of someone of drinking age.
Gallo, 22, had a blood-alcohol level of .19 two hours after the crash,authorities said earlier.
In its website posting, The Orange County Register quoted Deputy District Attorney Susan Price, who is prosecuting Gallo, as saying that Stewart had a peripheral blood alcohol content of .06 percent. She said a doctor testified to that during grand jury hearings on the case that resulted in Gallo's indictment on second-degree murder charges.
Price told The Register that the legal limit in California for drivers under the age of 21 is .01, while the limit for those over 21 is .08.
Gallo's attorney, Randall Long with, could not be reached for immediate comment, but told The Register that the toxicology report is "a big revelation."
Long with said it indicated there were two people drinking and driving, causing the need for an investigation.
Price said Stewart's blood alcohol level is irrelevant and that is not uncommon to see DUI drivers on both sides of a collision.
"Nothing Courtney Stewart did caused this collision," Price told The Register.
On Monday, Gallo pleaded not guilty to the charges stemming from the collision April 9 at Orangeries Avenue and Lemon Street in Fullerton.
Gallo, 22, who is being held on $2 million bail, is due back in a Santa Ana courtroom July 31 for a trial-setting conference.
Also killed in the crash was Henry Pearson, 25, a law student working toward becoming a sports agent.
Jon Woolite, 24, of Manhattan Beach, was critically injured in the crash.
Woolite, Pearson, 22-year-old Adenhart, who had just pitched a six scoreless innings for the Angels and Stewart, a student and former cheerleader at Cal State Fullerton, were heading to a Fullerton club when the crash occurred.
Adenhart died on the operating table at CU Irvine Medical Center.