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A Dutchess County teen that was behind the wheel of a crash that killed two other teens has been arrested and could be facing significant prison time. Our Michael Howard has the story.
PINE PLAINS, N.Y. -- It was a crash so violent, it left a gouge in the pavement and snapped trees on an afternoon this past August in Pine Planes.
The crash left Zachary Pruner, 16, and Gian Stagnaro, 17, dead. Another, Niall Johnson, 16, survived with minor injuries and the driver, Dustin Hale, 17, was seriously injured. He is now facing charges.
“He was arrested by sheriff’s office detectives yesterday at the Pine Plains court,” said John Waterson of the Dutchess County Sheriff's office. “And he was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide.”
Police say Hale was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash and they say that, as well as speed, was a factor.
“Our investigation has revealed that Mr. Hale allegedly is responsible for two people while operating his vehicle in a reckless manor while impaired,” said Waterson.
In a twist, Zachary Pruner, one of the teens who died in the crash, was credited for essentially saving the life of the principal of his middle school in 2009 after an armed gunman named Christopher Craft took the principal hostage. Pruner was able to post a note on the window for police, directing them to Craft's whereabouts in the school. Craft was eventually apprehended by police.
“This one crash, because of speed, reckless driving and impairment, ended two lives and will change the other life forever,” said Waterson.
Hale was released with electronic monitoring and if he is convicted, he could face up to 25 years in prison.