Trial Ordered for Alleged DUI Motorist Following Fatal Torrey Pines Crash

The Times of San Diego reports that a driver arrested on suspicion of DUI has been ordered to stand trial for his role in a fatal crash at Torrey Pines State Beach that killed two of his passengers and injured two others.

On Tuesday, April 25, a Riverside County judge ordered 20-year-old Christopher Ray Schmittel to stand trial for multiple charges, including murder.

Investigators say that on April 25, 2022, at approximately 11:00 p.m., Schmittel crashed his 2020 Subaru WRX through a metal guardrail at the beach. The impact force caused two of Schmittel’s passengers, two young men, both 19 years old, to be thrown from the vehicle. Both young men reportedly died at the scene.

Police reports indicate that Schmittel and two additional passengers were taken to an area hospital. Both passengers suffered severe injuries, including lung damage. One of the surviving passengers suffered a broken hip. Schmittel suffered only minor injuries. 

Prosecutors allege that Schmittel drove at speeds of more than 120 miles per hour just before the crash. Toxicology tests showed that Schmittel was intoxicated by alcohol, marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, and Xanax.

At a preliminary hearing, one of the surviving passengers told the court he, Schmittel, and the other men left Wildomar earlier that day. The witness said that later that night, Schmittel was behind the wheel at a high rate of speed when he lost control of his vehicle between Torrey Pines State Beach Towers 4 and 5. The car crashed through the guardrail over the edge of the pavement and struck several rocks before coming to a rest on the beach. 

Related Frequently Asked Questions