A man accused of manslaughter after getting into a fiery car crash in the Bay Park area Saturday, killing two of his passengers, had consumed alcohol and drugs during a 12-hour time period before the crash, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Antony N. Schoenle, 20, pleaded not guilty during an arraignment at UC San Diego Medical Center to felony charges including gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Fraser set the defendant’s bail at $2 million.
Schoenle, who was about to begin his senior year at San Diego State University, is charged in the deaths of Guadalupe Acosta Amado and Lizette Garcia, both of whom were killed in the Saturday crash about 7:30 a.m. The women, both from Oceanside, were wearing seat belts.
A dog also died in the crash, the Medical Examiner’s Office said.
At the arraignment, which lasted only a few minutes, Deputy District Attorney Steven Schott said the defendant drank alcohol, smoked marijuana and consumed cocaine before getting behind the wheel with his two passengers.
The prosecutor said Schoenle was drunk driving westbound on Friars Road when he drove off the road near the Pacific Highway overpass and struck a curb, sending the Dodge Stratus airborne and down an embankment. The car hit a pillar and caught fire.
Schott said the defendant got out of the car by climbing over Garcia, whom he described in an interview later as “dead weight,” and ran to another vehicle. The prosecutor said Schoenle wanted to leave the scene.
Within seconds, the Stratus was engulfed in flames. A preliminary test revealed that Schoenle had a blood-alcohol content of .09 percent two hours after the crash, the prosecutor said. The legal limit for drivers in California is .08 percent. Drunk driving is one of the main factors in the car crash.
Deputy Public Defender Neil Besse did not ask for a specific bail amount during the arraignment but asked the judge to consider that Schoenle was a student with ties to California and New York. The attorney said Schoenle was not a flight risk.
The prosecutor said Schoenle has warrants from New York, but declined to explain why the warrants were issued citing the ongoing investigation in the case.
If convicted of two manslaughter counts and DUI causing great bodily injury, Schoenle faces a possible sentence of up to 12 years in prison.