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Driver arrested in Torrey Pines crash that killed 2 teens

Posted at 2:20 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 17:24:26-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A 19-year-old man was arrested in connection with an April crash in the Torrey Pines area that killed two 19-year-old passengers, San Diego Police announced Monday.

SDPD officials said 19-year-old Christopher Schmittel was taken into custody on Sunday at his home in Moreno Valley. He was booked into Vista jail on two counts of murder, two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, and felony DUI.

Schmittel was identified by police as the driver of a Subaru WRX that was speeding on N. Torrey Pines Road on the evening of April 25.

According to police, Schmittel lost control of the Subaru, struck a guardrail, veered off a ledge, and landed on the beach.

Two 19-year-old male passengers -- Johnny Ildefonzo Punzalan and Joshua Adonai Manzanares, both from Lake Elsinore -- were ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene, police said.

Two other male passengers -- a 19-year-old and 18-year-old -- suffered serious injuries and were hospitalized.

Schmittel also suffered serious injuries in the wreck and was taken to the hospital.

Police noted that the investigation into the crash “is ongoing,” and they are asking anyone with information on the incident to call 619-531-2000 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.