Former star athlete gets 5 years probation for fatal crash - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Former star athlete sentenced to 8 months in jail, 5 years probation for fatal crash

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A 19-year-old minor league baseball player who caused a fatal traffic accident on a rain-slickened road in front of Steele Canyon High School was sentenced Friday to five years probation and jailed for eight months. 

According to Assistant District Attorney Curtis Ross, the defendant "got a sweetheart deal" and will only spend 120 days in jail after good time and previous time served is factored in.  Andrew Bellatti has already served 31 days in jail and according to prosecutors should be released from jail sometime in February 2011.

Andrew Bellatti, a 12th round pick of Tampa Bay, pleaded guilty last month to gross vehicular manslaughter for the Jan. 22 collision that killed David Norman Reid, a 50-year-old man driving a van on Campo Road in Jamul.

The victim's son, Garrett Reid, then 17, suffered numerous broken bones but has recovered.

Deputy District Attorney Curtis Ross said the defendant was driving between 75-80 mph as he approached the campus and crossed double-yellow lines before losing control of his Mustang and spinning out of control.

Bellatti was being spared prison because of the wishes of a "very kind and compassionate family" that he victimized, Ross said.

According to testimony in a previous hearing, Bellatti was rushing his girlfriend to a high school basketball game when he lost control of his car, which crashed head-on into the van.

Bellatti's girlfriend, Bree Pfunder, suffered a concussion. She played on the Steele Canyon girls basketball team and was late to a game in Santee, according to testimony.

Witnesses testified they saw Bellatti's Ford Mustang approach the Steele Canyon High campus at a high rate of speed, cross into the opposite left-turn lanes to avoid a car exiting the school parking lot, and return to his lane before the car spun out on rain-slick pavement.

"It was a poor decision and he regrets it to this day," defense attorney Patrick Hall said.

Reid's widow does not want to ruin the young man's life, the prosecutor said.

Judge Peter Deddeh warned the defendant that if he committed even a minor traffic offense during his period of probation, he would be sent to prison.

He compiled a 2-5 record and 4.04 ERA with the Princeton Rays of the Appalachian Rookie League this summer. 

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