As expected, Brittany Deanne Schuetz, 21, of Santa Ana, was sentenced today to 15 years to life in state prison for murdering a 26-year-old woman from behind the wheel of a car.
Her case was previously blogged about here.
Then 17-year-old Schuetz attended alcohol awareness classes where she learned about the dangers of driving drunk after a July 2007 misdemeanor conviction for driving under the influence.
However, after a night of heavy drinking--and over the pleas of friends who asked her not to drive and offered to drive her home--Schuetz climbed into a black 2003 Mazda 6 in the early morning hours of Feb. 1, 2009.
Then 20, she was still on probation for the 2007 DUI when, at around 1:30 a.m., she ran a red light at speeds over 90 mph and slammed into a 2004 Acura Integra at the Imperial Highway and Beach Boulevard intersection.
April Whang, 26, of Fullerton, was heading eastbound on Imperial Highway from Beach Boulevard in the Acura. The crash threw her from the driver's seat to her car's cargo area. The figure skater-turned-hockey player, who was a store manager at The Rinks Anaheim Ice, died at the scene of multiple traumatic injuries.
La Habra Police arrived to find Schuetz sitting in the driver's seat of her car. She had a strong odor of alcohol from her breath, bloodshot and watery eyes and was unable to answer basic questions.
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Two hours after the crash, her blood alcohol level tested at .24 percent, five times the legal limit for a person under the age of 21.
At the time of the crash, Whang was heading home from her boyfriend Thomas Sleigh's house. She had promised to call him when she got home--a call she was never able to make.
"Most people go through their whole life not ever getting to experience love like we shared--we truly were soul mates," Sleigh told the court at today's sentencing hearing. "God only made one of her. She is irreplaceable. There will never be another April. Never be a second chance. I'll miss her all of my life."
More than 1,000 people attended Whang's funeral.