Torrey Pines State Beach

Moreno Valley Man Facing Murder, DUI Charges for Crash on Torrey Pines State Beach

Intoxication is believed to be a factor in the crash, according to SDPD


A 19-year-old Moreno Valley man was arrested on murder and vehicular manslaughter charges for his role in an April 25 crash that ended with his Subaru on the sand of Torrey Pines State Beach and two of his passengers dead, police announced Monday.

Christopher Schmittel was driving drunk when he lost control of his Subaru sedan along North Torrey Pines Road, punched through a guardrail and crashed on the beach below, according to the San Diego Police Department. His passengers, Johnny Ildefonzo Punzalan and Joshua Adonai Manzanares, two 19-year-olds from Lake Elsinore, died in the crash.

NBC 7's Nicole Gomez speaks to a man who was there as authorities responded to a deadly crash involving a car that went over a guardrail and landed on Torrey Pines State Beach.

Schmittel was hospitalized with serious injuries and later released. He was arrested by Fugitive Task Force officers at his home on Sunday.

Schmittel was booked at the Vista Detention Facility on felony DUI, and two counts of murder and gross vehicular manslaughter.

Anyone with information is asked to call SDPD at (619) 531-2000 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

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