Charges still pending in crash that killed 2 Shen students
Booking photo of Dennis Toomer from July 2008 (Photo: Albany County Sheriff's Dept.)
CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. - Charges are still pending against Dennis Drue, the driver of the vehicle that struck Chris Stewart's SUV Saturday night killing Stewart and fellow Shenendehowa High School student Deanna Rivers.
On Thursday, Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy and State Police released a statement saying the results of Drue's blood test regarding his B.A.C. the night of the accident have been received, however will not be released pending results of blood tests for other substances.
Murphy and Police say at this time they have chosen to postpone any charges pending the results of the other tests, which are expected by the end of the week.
Attorney's Office is ethically prohibited from disclosing the percentage of
alcohol by weight in Drue's blood, the BAC, but DA Murphy
"Captain James and I
have discussed the status of the investigation in general and the lab results in
particular. We both agree that before a charging decision is made, further
testing needs to be done. The blood sample would normally be tested for a whole
range of substances in the ordinary course of the investigation and that is what
is being done here. It is important for us to allow the lab to do a thorough
investigation rather than one that is based on artificial time tables. Captain
James, the families and I know that we must exercise patience and give our lab
experts the necessary time to conduct these scientific tests in order to ensure
the integrity of the investigation and trust its outcome."
The investigation Saturday night revealed that Drue, 22, had been operating his car at a high rate of speed, moving his vehicle from the far left lane into the far right lane. Drue subsequently made contact with the rear of Stewart's Ford Explorer, causing both vehicles to leave the road.
Stewart and Rivers were pronounced dead at the scene. Two other 17-year-old students, Bailey Wind and Matt Hardy were hospitalized.
A breath-screening test at the scene revealed there was alcohol in Drue's system at the time of the accident. However, Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy says the New York State Police Crime Lab is still working on the BAC, as well as results of a blood test.
"What we are waiting on now is time to get back the results," said NYS Police Captain Steven James. "There's nothing to dispense other than we are looking to reduce the time of the testing from 90 days to several days. I expect by the end of this week. I hope we'll have the results."
Murphy said prosecutors met with victims' families on Wednesday and will continue to meet with them in the
coming days as the other aspects of the investigation are continuing.
The NYS Department of Motor Vehicles tells NEWS10 Drue currently has a full and valid license. He has no alcohol-related convictions on his driving record. His license was revoked from February 27, 2009 to January 1, 2010 for having acquired three speeding convictions within an 18-month period.
He was also arrested by Albany County Sheriff's Dept. in June 2008, then Dennis Toomer, for Criminal Possession of Marijuana and Resisting Arrest.
Possible criminal charges for Drue include vehicular manslaughter, pending the toxicology results and further investigation by the Saratoga County District Attorney's Office and NYS Police.
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