Marine jailed in DUI crash that killed fellow serviceman
A Marine who crashed his speeding sports car into a tree, slicing the vehicle in half and killing a fellow serviceman in the passenger seat, was sentenced Friday to one year in jail and five years probation for the 2009 accident.
A jury in February found Andrew Stueber, 27, guilty of one felony count of vehicular manslaughter for the early-morning crash on Aug. 1, 2009, that left Edmund Vandecasteele dead.
Stueber was also sentenced to two years in state prison, but that sentence was suspended, according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office.
Prosecutors said that Stueber was the designated driver for a group of friends -- three other Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton -- after a night of drinking at a tavern in San Clemente.
He sped through a 35-mph zone going faster than 55 mph and lost control of the Ford Mustang shortly after 2 a.m., crossing into the oncoming lanes and crashing into a tree.
Vandecasteele, who was in the front passenger seat, died at the scene, with multiple traumatic injuries, prosecutors said. The two other passengers were treated at a hospital for cuts and bruises.
Stueber was taken to a hospital to be treated for head trauma. Prosecutors said that about two hours after the crash, he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.09%, above the legal limit.
During the sentencing hearing, members of Vandecasteele's family lamented the loss of a 22-year-old willing to defend his county as a result of reckless driving.
"Eddie was not afraid to die for his country," said his mother, Lisa Vandecasteele, according to prosecutors. "He was not prepared to be killed by a fellow Marine on U.S. soil and neither were we."
"I have lived with the excruciating pain of burying my son," she added. "I have lost him forever."
-- Rick Rojas