Shortly after midnight on April 9, 2009, Nick Adenhart was involved in a car crash in Fullerton, California. Police reported that an individual driving a red Toyota Sienna minivan ran a red light and broadsided the gray Mitsubishi Eclipse Adenhart was a passenger in, sending it crashing into a telephone pole. Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson, the driver and another passenger of the Mitsubishi respectively, were pronounced dead at the scene. Adenhart and Jon Wilhite, the third passenger in the Mitsubishi, were taken to University of California, Irvine Medical Center, where Adenhart died as a result of his injuries. Wilhite suffered an internal decapitation and survived the crash after undergoing a five-hour surgery to reattach his skull six days after the accident.
The minivan driver fled the scene on foot, but was later apprehended and identified as Andrew Thomas Gallo. On May 27, 2009, Gallo was indicted by the Orange County grand jury on three counts of murder, one count each of felony hit-and-run, driving under the influence and causing injury, and driving with a .08 percent blood alcohol or higher and causing injury and death. Gallo had a blood alcohol content of .19 percent two hours after the crash, and was also driving with a suspended license. On June 8, 2009, Gallo entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment. After a two week jury trial held in September 2010, Gallo was convicted on three counts of second-degree murder, two counts of driving under the influence causing great bodily injury, and one felony count of hit-and-run. A bench trial found Gallo guilty of driving on a suspended license.