Man admits to smoking marijuana, feeling paranoid before fatal hit-and-run crash

Gerard Baldie admitted to smoking marijuana before being involved in the crash that killed Steven Olivert and his girlfriend Danielle Baldwin in Broward County.

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.

Steven Olivert and Danielle Baldwin died after suffering injuries during a crash on their 12th anniversary. Olivert was planning to propose to her on the night he died, relatives said.

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

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

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.