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Dennis Drue sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison
BALLSTON SPA -- Dennis Drue was sentenced Thursday for
causing an accident that killed two local high school students and injured two
Drue admitted he was texting, speeding and under the influence of marijuana and alcohol when he crashed into the car. Shenendehowa High School students Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers were killed in the accident. Shen junior Matt Hardy and Shaker High School student Bailey Wind were seriously injured.
Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy released text messages sent by Drue that he says indicate Drue was going to buy marijuana when the accident occurred.
Six people made victim impact statements. Wind and Hardy recalled the accident during their time on the stand.
Wind lashed out at Drue during her more than 20 minutes on the stand, calling him a murderer, loser, and the most hated person in the 518 [area code] while repeatedly asking Drue to look at her.
Hardy spent time remembering victims Chris Stewart and his girlfriend Deanna Rivers.
What hurts me the host is your depraved indifference. You caused this nightmare, said Hardy. I hope you think about the pain you impacted on these families while sitting in a jail cell.
Rivers father, Brian, spoke on behalf of the family. Rivers called Drue an animal, while also blasting the justice system for not instituting tougher penalties for Drues prior driving infractions.
In his demented mind he believes this was an accident and he will kill again if anyone crosses his path of destruction, said Rivers.
Chris Stewarts brother Jeremy and his mother, Regina, and father, Michael, spoke for the Stewart family.
Jeremy said he is not ready to forgive Drue for causing the accident, but plans to visit him personally when he is ready, adding I wont be right until I can forgive you.
Regina recounted the night of the accident when she abandoned her car on the Northway and ran through the woods to the scene. She also encouraged Drue to turn his life around.
Lead us to a place of pride and take over for Chris. I know you can do it, said Regina Stewart. We need to find meaning in this tragedy and you can help with that.
Drue was sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison, despite objections raised by District Attorney Jim Murphys office. Early in the process, Drue was offered the same sentence in a plea deal from the D.A.s office, but Murphy said it was contingent on not having a hearing. Once the hearing occurred in August, the deal was rescinded.
Drues attorney, Steven Coffey, side-stepped the D.A.s office and worked with Judge Scarano in September to have Drue plead guilty to all 58 charges against him for a sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison.
I know youre taking a hit for the sentence, but I think it takes courage, Coffey told Scarano.
Coffey declined to speak with the media while leaving court.
Prior to sentencing, Drue took the stand to address the families. He repeatedly apologized for his actions and said he understood the impact of what he did.
I feel wrong to watch football. I shouldnt even enjoy it, said Drue because it brought back memories of football player Stewart. I dont sleep, I dont eat, Im very sorry.