A young man accused of driving drunk in a fiery crash that killed his two passengers was charged and arrested at a San Diego hospital Wednesday, the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) confirmed.
The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office named 20-year-old Antony Schoenle as the suspect in the DUI crash that happened on Saturday, Aug. 22, in the 4800 block of Friars Road.
Schoenle suffered severe burns in the collision and has been hospitalized for the past five days at UCSD Medical Center. Officials released his name for the first time Wednesday right before his arraignment.
SDPD officials confirmed Schoenle was arrested at the hospital and charged two counts of felony manslaughter, felony DUI and providing false information.
In a packed hospital room, with the suspect sitting quietly in a bed, prosecutors argued Schoenle is a possible flight risk who has ties to New York and asked Judge Jeffrey Fraser to set his bail at $2 million.
The judge agreed.
According to the San Diego Police Department (SDPD), Schoenle was behind the wheel of a 2000 Dodge Stratus Saturday morning, accompanied by two passengers, Lizzy Garcia and Lupe Acosta, both in their early 20s, and Acosta’s puppy.
Just before 7:30 a.m., Schoenle – suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol – slammed into a curb, drove onto an embankment and struck a large boulder, investigators said.
The car then caught on fire.
Schoenle was able to escape from the flaming wreckage, but his passengers and the dog could not get out. The young women and dog died in the fiery crash, police said.
“Both of these women were burned beyond recognition, actually burned down to the bone in some places,” Deputy District Attorney Steven Schott said at the arraignment.
Schoenle sustained cuts and burns in the collision and was taken to a local hospital. SDPD investigators said he would be charged with DUI following medical treatment.
According to prosecutors, Schoenle got behind the wheel of the Dodge Stratus on Aug. 22 after a 12-hour-long night of partying that included alcohol, marijuana and cocaine use.
Prosecutors argued that Schoenle saved himself with no regard for the lives of his passengers.
“This defendant unbuckled himself and climbed over Miss Garcia, the front passenger, to get out – a woman he referred to in an interview as ‘dead weight,’” Schott continued.
The deputy district attorney said the interview he was referring to was when Schoenle was questioned by police officers immediately after the crash.
No other cars were involved in the deadly suspected DUI collision.
The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) said the flames from the Dodge Stratus spread to some nearby vegetation just off the roadway following the crash.
Firefighters initially responded to the scene for reports of only the brush fire, but when they arrived, they discovered the mangled, scorched wreckage and the victims.
Loved ones said the women killed in the crash were best friends who had attended Oceanside High School and played in the marching band together.