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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."

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-- Rick Rojas

 

 
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