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Driver now facing vehicular manslaughter charge for Milton teen's death

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Albany/HV: Driver now facing vehicular manslaughter charge for Milton teen's death
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A 21-year-old Saratoga County man is facing new charges, more than three weeks after sheriff's deputies said he drove drunk and killed a young girl in Milton. YNN's Matt Hunter has the latest.

MILTON, NY – "I think I'm still in shock a little bit,” Sarah Liedel said. “I'm still not accepting it, I guess."

More than three weeks have passed and Sarah Liedel still can't get the events of July 7th out of her head.

At around 9:30 pm on that Saturday, deputies said her 14-year-old daughter, Kari, was walking along West Milton Road before she was hit and killed by a drunk driver.

"I'm paranoid about my other daughter,” Liedel said. “She's not allowed to leave an adult's sight. She's 16 and feels like she's three because she's not allowed to leave my house."

Shortly after the crash Saratoga County sheriff's deputies arrested 21-year-old Gavin Staulters of Rock City Falls and charged him with driving under the influence. He was later released on $5,000 bail.

On Tuesday, following a full investigation, he was arraigned on another charge, second degree vehicular manslaughter.

"He's just living his life like nothing happened and they called me and I was just like, ‘finally,’” Liedel said.

Staulters, an Air Force airman, has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

In New York State, vehicular manslaughter carries a max penalty of 15 years in prison; a punishment Liedel's family members believe doesn't fit the crime.

"That's ridiculous. She should have lived for another 50 years, that's what he should get but they won't do that," Liedel said.

In the weeks since losing her daughter, Liedel says she's been spending more time with friends and family as an excuse to get out of her now quiet house.

She's now focusing her energy on making her daughter's tragic story a battle cry in the fight to end drinking and driving.

"I mean, it's murder,” Liedel said. “It's not an accident, it's not you know, oops I made a mistake, it's murder, she's gone, like gone, they're not coming back. People don't come back from that."

Staulters’ next court appearance is scheduled for August 14th.

Phone calls made to his attorney were not immediately returned Tuesday afternoon.

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