A former local high school baseball star who was drafted by a Major League team last year pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a variety of charges in connection to the death of much-loved local teacher.
Andrew Bellatti, 19, is charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving causing great bodily injury. The former Steele Canyon High School star pitcher also faces misdemeanor reckless driving charges connected to a previous incident.
David Reid, 50, died in a crash around 4:20 a.m. on Jan 23 near Steele Canyon High School, where he was a frequent volunteer. Reid was very involved in the school's drama club, where he often volunteered for his drama productions, according to Assistant Principal Jeff Kover.
Bellatti, 18 at the time of the crash, was going 80 mph on Campo Road when he illegally crossed the double yellow line to pass another car and headed straight into oncoming traffic, according to the California Highway Patrol, whose investigators said they did not believe drugs or alcohol played any role in the crash. Bellatti's red Mustang slammed into Reid's Dodge Caravan.
"The first vehicle swerved out of the way that was traveling eastbound; the second vehicle collided head-on with the Mustang," CHP officer Brian Pennings said. "The speedometer was frozen at impact. It was frozen at 80 mph.”
Deputy District Attorney Curtis Ross said Bellatti was spotted driving around stopped cars at a stopped sign during the previous week and was also seen running red lights.
Also injured in the crash were Reid's teenage son, Garrett, and another teen, a 16-year-old girl riding with Bellatti who is believed to have been the pitcher's girlfriend.
After court on Tuesday, Garrett spoke to the media about the case.
"I forgive him on the aspect of we all do stupid things," Garrett said. "My forgiveness of him has dwindled as I've learned what it's like to lose my father."
Bellatti was a 12-round draft pick by Tampa Bay. Because he is currently playing baseball in Florida, he was instructed Tuesday to sign a waiver of extradition by Judge Charles Ervin.
Bellatti faces more that seven years in prison if convicted, according to prosecutors. He is due back in court on Aug. 5.