|For Immediate Release
Case # 09ZF0055
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
DRUNKEN DRIVER FACES TRIAL FOR MURDERING ANOTHER MOTORIST IN EARLY MORNING
SANTA ANA – A drunken driver on notice that driving under the influence could kill others faces trial tomorrow for murdering a 26-year-old motorist in an early morning high-speed crash. Brittany Deanne Schuetz, 21, Santa Ana, faces one felony count of murder and a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison if convicted. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In 2007, Schuetz attended and completed alcohol awareness classes, during which she was instructed about the dangers of drinking and driving.
On the night of Jan. 31, 2009, Schuetz is accused of consuming several alcoholic drinks at a party. After midnight on Feb. 1, 2009, she is accused of leaving the party and ignoring her friends’ offers to find her a ride home and their pleas for her not to drive.
At approximately 1:30 a.m., Schuetz is accused of driving at a high rate of speed on Beach Boulevard in a black 2003 Mazda 6. She is accused of entering the intersection at Beach Boulevard and Imperial Highway against a red light. After running the red light, the defendant is accused of striking victim April Whang’s vehicle, which was traveling eastbound on Imperial Highway from Beach Boulevard on a green light. Schuetz is accused of causing the crash, the impact of which threw Whang from the driver’s seat to the cargo area of her 2004 Acura Integra.
La Habra Police arrived at the scene to find the defendant sitting in the driver’s seat of her car. Schuetz is accused of displaying objective signs of alcohol intoxication including emitting a strong odor of alcohol from her breath, having bloodshot and watery eyes, and not being able to answer any of the basic questions asked by investigating officers. She is accused of having a blood alcohol level over the legal limit, making it unsafe for her to drive.
Whang died at the scene due to multiple traumatic injuries. The victim was an ice hockey player and former figure skater. She worked as a store manager at The Rinks Anaheim Ice. Over 1,000 people attended her funeral. Whang lived in Fullerton with her parents and 21-year-old sister.
Deputy District Attorney Susan Price of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.