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Philly driver guilty in death of Cardinals fan

The drunken driver who killed a St. Louis Cardinals fan and seriously injured another in Philadelphia last summer accepts a pair of guilty pleas.

    In an update on a horrible story from last summer, the man accused of running over two St. Louis Cardinals fans with his speeding car outside Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park last July pleaded guilty on Tuesday to vehicular homicide and vehicular aggravated assault while intoxicated.

    Citizens Bank Park (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)Now 20-year-old South Philadelphia resident Joseph Genovese Jr. ran a red light on Broad Street outside an afternoon Phillies-Cardinals game last July 10, striking St. Louis schoolteachers Cindy Grassi and Sandra Wacker.

    Following two days on life support, Grassi, 53, died from her injuries while Wacker, then 36, was seriously injured. She suffered a traumatic brain injury, bruised lung and a broken leg which required her to spend months in recovery, first in Philadelphia, then back home in St. Louis. Doctors had to remove a part of Wacker’s skull to allow for swelling of the brain and when that piece of her skull was put back in place four months later, 69 staples were required.

    The friends, who met as teachers at Mark Twain Elementary School in Brentwood, Mo., had traveled to a different ballpark each summer to watch the Cardinals play. Grassi had retired in 2007, while Wacker has now returned to teaching fourth grade.

    Citizens Bank Park is relatively new, having opened in 2004, with wide boulevards and good sightlines in all directions. Yet nothing could protect the two teachers from Genovese’s speeding automobile. Prior to the accident, the man had bragged on his MySpace page of driving 120 mph on a drag-racing strip near the ballpark. After his arrest, his mugshot was featured on his MySpace page.

    Genovese faces a sentence of up to 13 1/2 to 27 years in prison and will learn his fate on April 13.

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    Brian Walton

    Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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