Woman faces DUI charges, plunged car into Bay

A 58-year-old San Carlos woman, who was saved by a Burlingame High School student after plunging her car into the Bay waters in Burlingame, was arraigned on misdemeanor drunken driving charges Tuesday morning.

On April 28 at about 8:15 p.m., on the night before her birthday, Diane Schwerdtfeger was driving her Nissan compact car after dining at the Kincaid’s Bayhouse restaurant on Airport Boulevard when she failed to turn where the road curved. She “catapulted” off the road and drove into the water, more than 50 feet from the shore, according to Burlingame police.

“The road went right and she kept going straight,” Deputy District Attorney SteveWagstaffe said.

Becky Reynoso, 15, a Burlingame High School student who is on the swimming team, was a passenger in a car as it drove by the scene. She told her parents to stop the car before getting out and jumping into the water to save Schwerdtfeger.

Burlingame police Officer Todd Chase praised Reynoso, saying most spectators merely watched.

“There were other people on the shore who could’ve did what she did and they didn’t,” he said. “She was the one who had her parents pulled over. … And this wasn’t two feet of water. Water was over her head. It was high tide. The car sunk within minutes.”

Another passer-by, retired firefighter Lawrence Rensch, 50, also jumped into the water to help Reynoso and Schwerdtfeger. Rensch and Reynoso were honored for their heroism at the Burlingame City Council meeting Monday night.

Schwerdtfeger was taken to a hospital for minor bruises. She has no criminal record in San Mateo County. Her attorney, Mike Davidson, entered a plea of not guilty on her behalf Tuesday. A jury trial has been scheduled for Aug.13.

bfoley@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

Just Posted

Cabernet sauvignon grapes sat in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
San Francisco’s ‘Champagne problems’ — Wine industry suffers supply chain woes

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

Glasses behind the bar at LUNA in the Mission District on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Glassware is just one of the many things restaurants have had trouble keeping in stock as supply chain problems ripple outward. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF restaurants face product shortages and skyrocketing costs

‘The supply chain crisis has impacted us in almost every way imaginable’

A Giants fans hangs his head in disbelief after the Dodgers won the NLDS in a controversial finish to a tight Game 5. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Giants dream season ends at the hands of the Dodgers, 2-1

A masterful game comes down to the bottom of the ninth, and San Francisco came up short

<strong>Workers with Urban Alchemy and the Downtown Streets Team clean at Seventh and Market streets on Oct. 12. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
<ins></ins>
Why is it so hard to keep San Francisco’s streets clean?

Some blame bureaucracy, others say it’s the residents’ fault

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — seen in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday — touted Congressional Democrats’ infrastructure bill in San Francisco on Thursday. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times)
Pelosi touts infrastructure bill as it nears finish line

Climate change, social safety net among major priorities of Democrats’ 10-year funding measure

Most Read