The man arrested in connection with a car crash on the Northway that killed two Shenendehowa High School students and injured two other teens was in court on Friday. Our Matt Hunter has more on the pre-trial hearings for Dennis Drue.
BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. -- Dennis Drue was back in court on Friday. His appearance comes eight months after prosecutors say he drove drunk and under the influence of marijuana, and caused a crash that claimed the lives of Christopher Stewart and Deanna Rivers.
During Drue’s Molineaux hearing, prosecutors urged Judge Jerry Scarano to permit text message records confiscated from Drue's cell phone to be used as evidence at next month's trial. The 3,000 texts sent between October and December of last year allegedly include repeated references to marijuana sales, and suggest Drue was texting while driving before the crash.
"We want to give this judge a full picture of exactly what kind of person allegedly killed these two kids and injured the two others," said Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy.
Stephen Coffey, Drue’s attorney, argued the text messages would have a prejudicial effect on the jury. He said they are irrelevant to the more serious counts in the indictment, which include aggravated vehicular homicide.
During the Huntley hearing, five witnesses took the stand. Kimberly Westcott was the first to testify. She is the volunteer EMT who treated Drue on the night of the crash.
Westcott said she smelled alcohol on Drue’s breath, however she told Coffey she could not determine whether or not his client was impaired.
Troopers Joseph Germano and Michael Trombley also testified. They interviewed Drue at the crash scene, and they both testified they could smell alcohol in his breath.
The day’s fifth witness was State Police Investigator Rodger Kirsopp. He arrested Drue at his Halfmoon home in January. Kirsonn said Drue made unsolicited comments to him and his partner while they were transporting him to police barracks.
According to Kirsopp, Drue said, "This is [expletive]. Those kids slammed on their breaks, this is an accident, nothing more, you just need someone to get paraded around for their deaths."
Drue later took the stand himself and said the trooper's remarks were fabricated.
"When you look at testimony, I think it's clear Investigator Kirsopp's testimony is credible and I think the judge will find that," Murphy said.
While no decision was reached, Judge Scarano is expected to decide over the next two weeks whether to permit any of the evidence or testimony to be presented at the trial.
"We never ask the judge to hurry up, we just let him decide," Murphy said.
During the testimony on Friday, Germano and Trombley said Drue admitted he had one drink before getting in his car, but denied using any drugs.
Both troopers said they administered breathalyzer tests on Drue. Germano’s reportedly registered a .08 while Trombley’s read .068. Neither is permitted to be used as evidence at the trial, but a blood test given to Drue during the following morning will be allowed. The results of that test were not presented in the courtroom.
Drue's trial is scheduled to begin on September 30.