Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
March 23, 2009
Susan Kang Schroeder
SECOND-TIME DRUNKEN DRIVER INDICTED ON MURDER CHARGE FOR EARLY MORNING CRASH, KILLING ANOTHER DRIVER
FULLERTON – A 20-year-old woman driving with a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit while on probation for a driving under the influence case was indicted today on one felony count of murder for crashing into and killing a 26-year-old woman motorist in a high speed car crash. Brittany Deanne Schuetz, Santa Ana, faces up to 15 years to life in prison if convicted. The defendant is being held on $1 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on March 27, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Prior History (Case # 07HM05157)
On June 14, 2007, Schuetz drove while under the influence of an intoxicating substance with a blood alcohol level of .14 percent. On July 16, 2007, the defendant pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor driving under the influence charge. As a condition of her probation, she attended alcohol awareness classes where she was instructed about the dangers of drinking and driving.
On Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009, Schuetz is accused of drinking alcoholic beverages at a party. On Feb. 1, 2009, she is accused of ignoring her friends’ pleas for her not to drive and their offers to obtain alternate options for her to get home. 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. When La Habra Police arrived at the scene, the defendant was found sitting in the driver’s seat. The defendant is accused of causing the impact, which threw Whang from the driver’s seat to the cargo area of her car, a 2004 Acura Integra.
At the scene, 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 content of .24 percent, three times above the legal limit.
The victim was a former figure skater who converted to playing ice hockey. Whang 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.