Santa Rosa, CA – February 19, 2020 – Defendant Christopher Shuman, 32 years old of Napa, was sentenced yesterday to serve two years in county jail by the Honorable Nancy Shaffer after a jury found him guilty in January of two counts of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for causing the deaths of Richard and Fay Steinhart. Shuman’s sentence also reflected his subsequent no contest pleas for driving during the incident with a suspended license (which had been suspended for two prior DUI offenses.)
On May 6, 2015 Shuman failed to maintain his lane while driving a utility truck, causing his vehicle to leave the roadway at an unsafe speed, resulting in a head on collision with the victims. The collision occurred on Highway 121, south of the City of Sonoma. Evidence showed that at the time of the crash Shuman was driving above the posted speed limit, and that methamphetamine was present in his blood stream.
Shuman was remanded into custody following his sentencing and ordered to serve two years in the county jail. Several surviving family members of the two victims were in attendance and addressed the court. Brian Dabel, son of Richard and Fay Steinhart, told the judge, “My parents were two of the most loving supporting and caring people you could ever meet.” He added, “The worst part of this tragedy is that the driver that caused the accident, Mr. Shuman, should not have been on the road. He should never have been there. By driving on a suspended license, which was obviously suspended for a reason, Mr. Shuman took to the road and subsequently killed two of the greatest people you could ever know.”
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Robert L Blade of the District Attorney’s Vertical DUI Unit. Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Assisting the prosecution were DA Investigators Robyn Katz and Greg Wojcik, and victim advocate Elizabeth Garcia. The California Highway Patrol headed the investigation.