Dennis Drue sued by Northway crash survivors - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Dennis Drue sued by Northway crash survivors

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Photo: Dennis Drue Photo: Dennis Drue
Photo: Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers Photo: Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers
Photo: Bailey Wind and Matt Hardy Photo: Bailey Wind and Matt Hardy

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. -- The man who admitted to causing a deadly crash on the Northway last December is now being sued by the two survivors.

A lawyer for Bailey Wind and Matt Hardy confirms they are asking for $1 million and punitive damages. The Shen students were leaving a sports game when a Volvo driven by Drue hit Stewart's Ford Explorer. Both Christopher Stewart and Deanna Rivers were pronounced dead at the scene. Wind, a Shaker High School student, and Hardy have since recuperated from the accident after a long road of recovery.

A summons naming Dennis Drue and his mother was filed in state supreme court on Tuesday.

Drue is expected to be sentenced in county court next week on criminal charges after he pled guilty in Saratoga County Court in September to 58 counts against him for causing the crash. He faces 5 to 15 years in prison.

District Attorney Jim Murphy says Drue's blood alcohol content was over the legal limit at the time of the crash and that he was impaired by drugs. Prosecutors also say marijuana and drug paraphilia were both found in Drue's car.

Earlier this month, the judge decided to allow Drue's statements he made after a fatal crash to be used in court. Drue told officers on scene the night of December 1, 2012 that he hit black ice and lost control of his vehicle. When a trooper engaged him in conversation Drue said, "Oh, I love my car, my poor car."

He told police he had one drink with dinner the night of the crash and blew a BAC of .08 percent. He repeatedly said he hit black ice and lost control, and the other car involved in the crash must have hit the same ice. He was taken to the hospital for minor injuries after the crash, where he said he would speak voluntarily and take a blood test after being read his rights.

According to Murphy, an investigation revealed Drue had been drinking at Koto Restaurant in Colonie where it was determined that he had 4 shots of alcohol, gin and tonics, and beers. He says he proceeded up the Northway toward Saratoga County when he began texting another person while driving.  As Drue approached what was to become the crime scene, his speed was approaching 80 miles per hour, as later confirmed by the NYSP accident reconstruction experts and eye witnesses.

It was later determined that Drue had the active byproduct of marijuana THC in his blood stream in an extremely high quantity -- 8.4 nanograms/milliliter. According to authorities, this level it would affect his reaction time and ability to control his muscle movement. Eye witnesses to the crash noted that the defendant never utilized his brakes prior to impact.

A computer chip was removed from the Volvo Drue was driving and shipped to Sweden in order for Volvo authorized experts to examine and provide details as to the information the chip stored prior to impact and the report confirmed the vehicle's speed at roughly 80 mph. 

Drue was arrested on January 4, 2013 at his Halfmoon home. While he was being transported, court documents state Drue spontaneously said, "This is bullsh**. Those kids slammed on their brakes. This is just an accident, nothing more. You just need somebody to parade around for their deaths." He also continued to insist there were no drugs in his system.

Drue had a significant driving record which includes five suspensions, 22 traffic tickets including more than a dozen speeding tickets, and four previous accidents. However, his license was not suspended at the time of the crash.

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