Judge denies motions in fatal Northway crash
Drue to face trial in Shendehowa students’ deaths
CLIFTON PARK The case against the driver who allegedly caused a wreck on the Northway in December that killed two Shenendehowa High School students moved one step closer to trial earlier this week.
Acting state Supreme Court Judge Jerry Scarano denied a handful of pretrial motions on Tuesday from Stephen R. Coffey, the attorney representing Halfmoon resident Dennis Drue, who is facing 52 felony charges, including aggravated vehicular homicide. The charges stem from a Dec. 1 accident that led to the deaths of Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers, two 17-year-old Shenendehowa seniors, and severe injuries to two other high school students.
Included in the motions by Coffey was an attempt to have Drue’s indictment thrown out. In his decision rejecting the motion, Scarano wrote that the indictment was based upon “adequate, competent evidence” that was sufficient to support the crimes charged.
Coffey declined to comment on the decision. He confirmed plans to introduce a motion before June 24 that would suppress statements Drue made to law enforcement, however.
“There are statements that Drue made to law enforcement that we intend to use against him on trial,” Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III said.
If a hearing is granted for Coffey’s motion, it would likely push back the next appearance date, which is scheduled for July 16.
Eyewitness accounts indicated Drue was speeding in the left northbound lane and abruptly moved into the far right lane, where he clipped the vehicle driven by Stewart. The contact forced Stewart’s vehicle to flip several times before coming to rest on the side of the highway.
The most severe charge, which could land Drue in prison for 25 years, stems from the allegation that he was impaired by marijuana and alcohol at the time of the accident.
He was also charged with several misdemeanors and violations, including one that accuses him of having a bag containing a small amount of marijuana.