Adenhart, another man and a woman were all killed, and another man was critically injured, in a three-vehicle crash in Fullerton, Calif., blamed on a motorist who ran a red light at an intersection, police said.
Adenhart was born in Silver Spring and graduated from Williamsport High School in Washington County, Md. He was the Angels' starting pitcher Wednesday night, striking out five in six innings.
"The Angels family has suffered a tremendous loss today," said Angels General Manager Tony Reagins. "We are deeply saddened and shocked by this tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Nick's family, friends, loved ones and fans."
Besides Adenhart, one of the other people killed was also part of the Angels organization. Authorities withheld the names of the dead for hours, pending family notification.
Police said the driver of a minivan who was blamed for the crash fled the scene on foot but was arrested a short time later on suspicion of hit-and-run. A passenger who remained in the minivan suffered minor injuries, Brower said.
The crash occurred at about 12:20 a.m., said Fullerton police Lt. Doug Cave.
Witnesses said a minivan ran a red light and collided with a silver Mitsubishi occupied by four people, said Fullerton police Lt. Craig Brower. The Mitsubishi slammed into a light pole. A man and a woman in the Mitsubishi died at the scene, Brower said. Two other men in the Mitsubishi were transported in critical condition to UC Irvine Medical Center, where one man died, he said.
Adenhart was one of the top high school pitchers in the country his senior year at Williamsport and was on his way to becoming a top-10 pick in the draft when he tore a ligament in his elbow and had to undergo Tommy John surgery. He was drafted in the 14th round by the Angels despite the injury and eventually worked his way back.
He made the Angels' rotation out of training camp this year due to several other injuries, but was expected to be an anchor of the rotation for years to come. His performance Wednesday night was glimpse of the talent he had, as he struck out five in six innings of shutout ball.
Adenhart is survived by his father Jim and mother Janet. His family released the following statement:
"Nick's family expresses sincere gratitude for all the help the Angels have provided. He lived his dream and was blessed to be part of an organization comprised of such warm, caring, and compassionate people. The Angels were his extended family. Thanks to all of Nick's loyal supporters and fans throughout his career. He will always be in everyone's hearts forever."