FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – During his testimony in Broward County court on Tuesday, Gerard Baldie said he had smoked marijuana about 200 times without consequence before the tragedy that killed a couple in love.
Baldie said the marijuana he smoked before the April 29, 2016 crash that killed Steven Olivert and Danielle Baldwin was different.
“As soon as I smoked, something felt really wrong,” Baldie said adding, “This time, I just became extremely paranoid.”
Baldie, 33, blamed the alleged laced weed for speeding and crashing into the back of Olivert’s green 1996 Nissan near the intersection of East Oakland Park Boulevard and North Federal Highway.
“I just remember driving and then the next thing I know there is like something hitting my face, and I don’t know, I just remember something warm hitting. It just feels like I was being smashed into something,” Baldie said.
Experts reported Baldie was driving a black 2016 Kia at more than 90 mph when he crashed. Baldie admitted to getting out of his car and running away.
“I didn’t know I was in an accident, so I was just trying to go home,” Baldie told a prosecutor.
Witnesses reported Baldie walked into a store shaking, took off his clothes, walked out naked, and walked into other businesses before officers detained him.
Olivert, 35, died on the night of the crash. Baldwin, 32, died on May 1, 2016. Olivert’s mother, Rose Olivert, said she placed the engagement ring that Olivert was going to give Baldwin in their coffin.
After receiving treatment at Imperial Point Medical Center, Baldie walked out free and he didn’t surrender to authorities until April 5, 2018.
During his opening statement on April 12, 2022, Attorney Michael Edward Dutko, who is defending Baldie, said the tainted marijuana was to blame — and not Baldie.
“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.”
Baldie, who was born in New York, is facing charges of vehicular manslaughter, DUI manslaughter, and leaving the scene of a fatal crash. Closing arguments are on Wednesday morning.
Archives: Coverage of the case
- April 5, 2018: Man surrenders to authorities 2 years after fatal DUI crash
- May 11, 2016: Double memorial service held for couple killed in crash