BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. -- Dennis Drue is in Saratoga County Court Friday for two hearings meant to establish admissibility of certain statements and acts during his upcoming trial in the Northway crash that killed two Shenendehowa High School teens and injured two others.
Both a Huntley hearing, which decides the admissibility of a defendant's statements, and a Molineux hearing, which determines the admissibility of a defendant's prior acts, will be held in Saratoga County Court.
Drue, 22, is facing 59 criminal charges, including 52 felonies, for the December 1, 2012 accident that killed Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers, and seriously injured Matthew Hardy and Bailey Wind.
"When you have one victim, an indictment can be large, but when you multiply that by four victims, it's going to be four times as large at least," said Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy when the indictment was originally released.
The Saratoga County District Attorney says Drue's blood alcohol content was over the legal limit at the time of that crash and that he was impaired by drugs. Prosecutors also say marijuana and drug paraphilia were both found in Drue's car.
The state trooper backed that theory up on Friday, explaining Drue's BAC on scene was .08 percent but he didn't give Drue a field sobriety test because of a head injury. The trooper said Drue also smelled of alcohol and had slurred speech.
The defense questioned the trooper's testimony, saying Drue's screen tests were inconsistent with the troopers testing. He also added that people can have a couple of drinks and not be drunk, and also said his client's condition could have been concussion related.
Drue did take the stand on Friday to counter witness testimony.
Investigator Rodger Kirsopp was asked about a conversation exchanged between himself and Drue as he was transported to police barracks and the county jail. Kirsopp said Drue was speaking out on his own free will, shouting profanity and blaming the driver of the other car for slamming on the brakes.
Drue recalls the conversation differently, taking the stand he told the courtroom the investigator's testimony was fabricated, and that he only had small talk with the investigator, including saying that this was an accident.
Officials say an investigation revealed that Drue 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.
This is not the first time Drue has been in trouble on the road.
According to records from the Department of Motor Vehicles, between the period of June 2007 and September 2012 Drue was charged with speeding 13 times. These 13 speeding tickets are part of a total of 22 traffic tickets on his record also including two Fail to Stop, Uninspected Motor Vehicle, two Cell Phone tickets, and Obstructed View.
Records also show between the period of July 2007 and February 2009, Drue has been determined at fault in four car accidents, three in Troy and one hit-and-run accident in Cohoes.
Drue's license has also been suspended four times prior to the fatal crash: In November 2008, February 2009, June 2011, and October 2011.His license finally was suspended for a fifth time after the fatal accident, on December 3, 2012.
Drue's license was not suspended at the time of the crash, and depending on the outcome of the hearings, a jury may or may not be informed of his prior vehicle history.
A court date has been set for September 30, 2013. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted. The DA's office expects the judge to have a decision in the next two weeks.
You can find the full Dennis Drue indictment at the bottom of this page, below the comments section.
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