For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
SPEEDING DRIVER SENTENCED TO ONE YEAR IN JAIL AND FIVE YEARS OF FORMAL PROBATION FOR KILLING FRIEND AFTER CRASHING INTO TREE WHILE SPEEDING
*Two other passengers were injured in the crash
FULLERTON – A speeding driver was sentenced today to one year in jail and put on formal probation for five years for killing his friend after slicing his car in half by crashing into a tree. He was also sentenced to two years in state prison but that sentence was suspended. Andrew Stueber, 27, was found guilty by a jury Feb. 8, 2012, of one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.
At approximately 2:10 a.m. on Aug. 1, 2009, Stueber was driving in a Ford Mustang after a night of drinking with friends at Goodys Tavern in San Clemente. He was the designated driver. He was speeding on Avenida Vista Montana at over 55 mph in a 35 mph zone with friends Edmund Vandecasteele, 22, Robert Nichols, 22, and Kyle Nance, 21, as passengers in he car.
Stueber lost control of his car while driving at a high rate of speed and crossed over onto the wrong side of the road. He then crashed into a tree, severing his car in half.
Stueber was transported to the hospital to be treated for head trauma. Approximately two hours after the crash, he had a blood alcohol level of .09 percent.
Vandecasteele, who had been riding in the front passenger seat, was pronounced dead at the scene due to multiple traumatic injuries. Nichols and Nance, who had been riding in the back seat, were transported to the hospital to be treated for cuts and bruises.
At the time of the crash, the defendant and the victims were all Marines stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
During the sentencing today, two victim impact statements were presented to the court. The victim’s younger sister Shana Vandeecasteele, said in part, “I will never get my brother back, I will never see his face again, I will never be happy again, My heart is broken and empty. It will never be patched up and filled again.”
The victim’s mother Lisa Vandecasteele said, “Eddie was not afraid to die for his county, he was not prepared to be killed by a fellow marine on U.S. soil and neither were we… I have lived with the excruciating pain of buyring my son. I have lost him forever. I cry everyday.”
Deputy District Attorney Nancy Hayashida of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.