La Jolla crime and public safety news: Driver arrested in double-fatal crash; coronavirus numbers; blotter

To report a non-emergency crime, call the San Diego Police Department at (619) 531-2000 or (858) 484-3154.
To report a non-emergency crime, call the San Diego Police Department at (619) 531-2000 or (858) 484-3154. In an emergency, dial 911.

Man, 19, arrested in crash that killed two passengers and injured two others

A 19-year-old man was arrested May 15 on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs when his car crashed onto Torrey Pines State Beach last month, killing two passengers and injuring two others, police said.

Christopher Schmittel was arrested at his home in Moreno Valley in Riverside County by members of a regional fugitive task force, although he was not on the run, said San Diego police Sgt. Victoria Houseman. Schmittel was booked into San Diego County’s Vista Detention Facility on suspicion of murder, gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI. He remained jailed without bail as of May 17.

Houseman would not specify what kind of drugs investigators believe Schmittel had used.

The crash happened just before 11 p.m. April 25. Police allege Schmittel was driving a Subaru WRX south on North Torrey Pines Road — which runs along the coast — at high speed when he lost control of the car. The vehicle crashed through a guardrail, went off an embankment and landed on the beach.

Two 19-year-old passengers, Johnny Ildefonzo Punzalan and Joshua Manzanares, were thrown from the car and died at the scene, according to police and the San Diego County medical examiner’s office. Authorities said they were not wearing seatbelts.

Two other passengers, a 19-year-old man and an 18-year-old man, suffered serious injuries and were taken to a hospital for treatment.

Schmittel also suffered serious injuries and was treated at a hospital and released.

Police said the investigation is continuing. Anyone with information about the case can call the San Diego Police Department at (619) 531-2000 or the anonymous Crime Stoppers tip line at (888) 580-8477. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

Coronavirus by the numbers

The San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency posts an updated list of coronavirus cases by ZIP code, including rates per 100,000 residents. Through May 7, ZIP code 92037 (estimated population 43,400) had a total of 5,735 registered cases (up by 69 from the previous count) and 13,249 per 100,000. ZIP code is the code of residence, which may not be the location of exposure.

The county also posts a list by ZIP code of the number of residents who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Through May 12, 40,684 residents of the 92037 ZIP code had received at least one dose; 35,906 were considered fully vaccinated and 22,750 were fully vaccinated and had received a booster dose.

To align itself with the state, the Health & Human Services Agency is now using the California Immunization Registry to record the number of area residents who have received COVID-19 vaccinations. The switch occurred April 25 and was required by the California Department of Public Health so that most health care systems across the state are using the same software to record vaccinations administered locally.

Police blotter

Further details were unavailable from San Diego police.

April 20

Prostitution: 5700 block La Jolla Boulevard, 8:30 p.m.

May 1

Commercial burglary (no weapon): 1100 block Coast Boulevard, 7 a.m.

May 6

Petty theft: 6000 block Beaumont Avenue, 6:45 a.m.

Felony grand theft: 8600 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 1 p.m.

May 7

Felony vandalism: 8600 block Via Mallorca, 10:02 a.m.

Vehicle break-in/theft: 8700 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 6 p.m.

Felony grand theft: 8700 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 6:15 p.m.

May 8

Felony vandalism: 8600 block Villa La Jolla Drive, 8:05 p.m.

Felony vehicle theft: 5200 block La Jolla Boulevard, 5 p.m.

May 9

Felony vandalism: 8600 block Via Mallorca, 2 a.m.

Felony vandalism: 5500 block Linda Rosa Avenue, 8:36 p.m.

May 10

Felony assault on elder/dependent adult: 7400 block Cuvier Street, 4:37 p.m.

May 11

Residential burglary: 400 block Prospect Street, 1:55 a.m.

Battery on person: 3300 block La Jolla Village Drive, 7 a.m.

Felony shoplifting: 7800 block Girard Avenue, 5:20 p.m.

May 12

Commercial burglary: 8300 block Via Sonoma, 3:44 a.m.

Battery on peace officer/emergency personnel: 700 block Coast Boulevard South, 10:35 p.m.

May 13

Exhibition of deadly weapon other than a firearm: 7300 block Fay Avenue, 1 a.m.

Commercial burglary: 7300 block High Avenue, 2:30 a.m.

May 15

Driving under the influence (alcohol): 8300 block El Paseo Grande, 9:50 p.m.

Compiled by Ashley Mackin-Solomon from police and other reports