The man accused of causing a crash that killed two Shenendehowa students this past December pleaded guilty to all 58 charges against him. Innae Park has more.
SARATOGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- In a sudden turn of events, Dennis Drue plead guilty to 58 counts during a pretrial hearing on Friday.
Drue plead guilty to charges including vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter and vehicular assault. He is accused of killing Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers and injuring Matt Hardy and Bailey Wind during a crash on the Northway on December 1, 2012.
"The highest and best result, the State Police and the families behind me could've hoped for," said Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy.
The decision came unexpectedly. His trial was set to begin Monday, September 30th. The District Attorney's office said it only received the news of the plea late Thursday afternoon.
Drue's attorney, Stephen Coffey, said, "He pleaded guilty, he is guilty and he's going to pay a tremendous price for a terrible crime."
In response to Friday's guilty plea, Coffey believed it would have been too difficult to proceed with the trial.
"We were coming into a county in which the publicity, the feelings and the passions, ran extremely high and were very deep. For us to try the case in this county in the face of that fact and the overwhelming outpouring of support would have been very difficult," said Coffey. "I'm not saying we wouldn't have gotten a fair trial, I'm saying it would have been difficult to try the case in this county."
According to the prosecution, Drue was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana and they had the evidence to prove it. The blood analysis was confirmed by a private testing facility in Pennsylvania, the vehicle's computer chip was shown to have Drue driving at a speed of 80 mph and there were witnesses who would've testified to have seen Drue consuming shots of alcohol and several gin and tonic's and beers at the restaurant Koto before hitting the road.
"When you combine the alcohol, the 8.4 nanograms per milliliter of the active byproduct of THC, the texting, the speeding and all of those things combined, it is no doubt something like this would happen," said Murphy. "And as a result, we had four completely innocent kids suffer unspeakable consequences."
The families of the victims chose not to speak.
Drue now faces five to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on December 5th. However, the District Attorney's office said they hope to lengthen that sentence.
Press Conference: Murphy speaks to the media
Albany/HV: Drue pleads guilty to fatal crash
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