Man blaming 2016 fatal hit-and-run crash on marijuana awaits jury’s verdict

Man admits to smoking marijuana before fatal crash

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – After hearing final arguments and receiving the judge’s instructions, the jury in the case of a 2016 fatal hit-and-run crash in Broward County retired to the jury room to begin deliberating Wednesday.

A few hours later, the judge sent them home and ordered them to return to court at 8:45 a.m., on Thursday in Fort Lauderdale.

Jurors listened to five days of testimony. They heard from Gerard Baldie, who is accused of killing Steven Olivert and Danielle Baldwin when he crashed his Kia into their Nissan on April 29, 2016.

“Baldie slammed into the back of their vehicle that was stopped for a red light doing 94 mph in a 35 mph zone,” Prosecutor Gina Messina said during her closing statement.

Michael Edward Dutko, Baldie’s defense attorney, said he was in a “psychotic state” and argued that this is why Baldie was not to blame.

Baldie testified on Tuesday that he was an avid marijuana smoker and the tainted weed that he smoked out of a bong that night made him paranoid.

“I just remember driving and then the next thing I know there is like something hitting my face ... I didn’t know I was in an accident, so I was just trying to go home,” Baldie said on Tuesday in court.

Witnesses near the crash scene reported Baldie was naked and running in and out of businesses. He was treated at Imperial Point Medical Center and released.

Olivert, 35, died the night of the crash at the hospital. Baldwin, 32, was brain dead and taken off life support on May 1, 2016. The crash was on the night of their 12th anniversary.

Olivert was going to propose to Baldwin. His mother, Rose Olivert, and Baldwin’s mother, Glorida Dudley, decided to bury them together with the engagement ring.

Baldie didn’t surrender to authorities until 2018. He is facing charges of vehicular manslaughter, DUI manslaughter, and leaving the scene of a fatal crash.

This is a developing story.

4:30 p.m. report

Jurors listened to five days of testimony including from Gerard Baldie, who is accused of killing Steven Olivert and Danielle Baldwin when he crashed his Kia into their green 1996 Nissan on April 29, 2016.

Coverage of the case

Steven Olivert, 35, died on April 29, 2016. Baldwin, 32, was brain dead and taken off life support on May 1, 2016.

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.