Statement by DA and NYSP regarding investigation into the death of Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers, and serious physical injury sustained by Bailey Wind and Matthey Hardy and conduct by Dennis Drue
Release Date: December 3, 2012
Statement from Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy & NYSP Troop G BCI Captain Steven James on the investigation into the death of two Shenendehowa students
Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy, III and NYSP Troop “G” BCI Captain Steven James announced today that the investigation into the death of Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers, and serious physical injury sustained by Bailey Wind and Matthey Hardy, Saturday night on the Northway in the Town of Halfmoon continues today.
The NYSP investigation continues to determine the specifics as to what occurred Saturday night and what potential charges are available based on a thorough review of the facts and circumstances surrounding eye witness accounts, accident reconstruction reports, and scientific test results. The initial charging decision by the NYSP will occur once the investigation has been completed. Further charging decisions may also occur after the initial charge by the Grand Jury.
The investigation continues as to the potential charges against Dennis Drue, 22, of Clifton Park, for the crash, as blood taken from Drue at Ellis Hospital and sent to the NYSP Crime Lab in Albany is being tested to determine the blood alcohol content (BAC). Typically blood test results take roughly 90 days, but due to the serious nature of the case, the NYSP and the DA have requested that the tests be done in an expedited manner. In order to charge DWI or any higher charge which includes DWI, as an element of Vehicular Manslaughter, a blood test result is necessary.
The NYSP and the DA would not speculate as to whether they anticipate the BAC being .08% or higher. A level of 08% is the threshold for DWI and for the felony charge of Vehicular Manslaughter.
Dr. Michael Sikirica, a forensic pathologist performed the autopsies at Saratoga Hospital and the NYSP and the DA are awaiting the autopsy reports.
Part of the ongoing NYSP investigation includes the use of accident reconstruction experts to determine among other things, an estimate of the vehicles’ speed. The accident reconstruction experts will create a report that indicates the speed of the vehicles, photographs of the scene and provides further information relative to the cause of the impact, and diagrams the vehicles as they came to rest. The accident reconstruction report is an essential part of the case and the NYSP and the DA are awaiting the accident reconstruction report, as well. Presently, speed estimates are based on eye witness accounts, but for charging purposes, an expert’s analysis is used.
DA Murphy, and the NYSP have been in contact with Shenendehowa School Superintendent Dr. Oliver Robinson relative to the tragedy and are working closely to keep him and school officials briefed as to the progress of the investigation. Robinson immediately allowed a memorial site on school property so as to create a safe environment for the school community to share, reflect and gather at and to also discourage anyone from stopping on the Northway in the area of the crash so as not to create a dangerous condition.
The DA and the NYSP urges the public not to go to the crash site on the Northway in that they may put themselves and potentially other motorists in danger and instead participate in the site made available by the Shenendehowa Superintendent.
The NYSP are in the process of obtaining statements, creating the reports discussed above, and awaiting tests results. All necessary resources are being devoted to this investigation and as soon as results are available they will be released, if possible.
DA Murphy said “Captain James and I have been working closely since midnight on Saturday. I have full confidence in the NYSP and their work. The NYSP lab is one of the finest in the country, but they need time to do their analysis. We cannot charge based on emotion, we must charge based on facts and evidence. We must wait for the lab to give us the evidence we need. Then we can go forward with our case.”
Captain James said “The men and women of the NYSP are working hard on this case and have been for the last 36 hours. In short order we will know more. In the meantime, we must do our job, which is to find out specifically what Mr. Drue did and under what circumstances. We will do our job as we always do, professionally and correctly.”
No further statement will be forthcoming from the NYSP or from DA Murphy today.
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