Tainted marijuana was to blame for fatal hit-and-run crash, lawyer says

The lawyer who represents a driver accused of a hit-and-run crash that killed a couple said tainted marijuana was to blame.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Steven Olivert was going to ask his girlfriend Danielle Baldwin to marry him on their 12th anniversary, but he never got to it. Gerard Baldie, who was a medical school student, put an end to their love story. Attorney Michael Edward Dutko blamed it all on tainted marijuana.

On Tuesday, Dutko was representing Baldie, now 33, in the case. He didn’t dispute Baldie plowed into the back of Olivert’s green 1996 Nissan while speeding in a black 2016 Kia on April 29, 2016, in Broward County. Olivert, 35, died that night. Baldwin, 32, was brain dead and taken off life support on May 1, 2016.

“No alcohol detected in his system,” Dutko said in court adding Baldie did admit he “took a hit from a bong” and he thought it was “laced” and “there must have been something in it.”

Olivert’s mother, Rose Olivert, said she decided to put the engagement ring that he was going to give Baldwin in their coffin and she hopes their love story went on. Baldwin’s mother, Glorida Dudley, and her aunt, Linda Dudley, were in court.

“We are here together today as one family to see that justice is served for Danielle and Steven,” Linda Dudley said outside of the courtroom.

Danielle Baldwin and Steven Olivert were killed in a chain-reaction crash on April 2016 in Fort Lauderdale.

Dutko didn’t dispute the prosecution’s accusation that Baldie ran away from the scene of the crash near the intersection of East Oakland Park Boulevard and North Federal Highway. Witnesses said Baldie was shaking, took his clothes off at Mattress Land, and walked out nearly naked.

Witnesses said Baldie also walked into Smarty Pants Bar and then Kitchenetta on the night of the crash. Officers detained him and he received treatment at Imperial Point Medical Center. Baldie walked out free and he didn’t surrender to authorities until April 5, 2018, and a judge placed him on house arrest.

Baldie who was born in New York is facing charges of vehicular manslaughter, DUI manslaughter, and leaving the scene of a fatal crash. The first witness was a man who admitted to smoking marijuana with Baldie.

Glorida Dudley said she has been waiting for six years to watch Baldie on trial.

“There is not one day that goes by that I don’t think about my daughter,” she said.

Gerard Baldie surrendered to face charges in a fatal hit-and-run crash on April 5, 2018.

Local10.com archives: Coverage of the case

About the Authors:

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.