Driver in fatal N.Y. crash is a Siena student; candlelight vigil held
CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. -- The driver of the car police say hit an SUV carrying four high school students Saturday, killing two and critically injuring two others, is a Siena College student, the college confirmed in a statement Tuesday.
Police say a breath test administered to Dennis Drue, 22, immediately after the Saturday night crash came back positive for alcohol, but a blood test to determine the exact level of alcohol in his system is still pending.
No criminal charges have been filed against Drue, and police say they are waiting for the blood test results before making any decisions about charging him.
Drue was driving his Volvo northbound between the Twin Bridges and Exit 8 on the Northway when he struck the SUV driven by Chris Stewart. Stewart and another passenger, Deanna Rivers, were killed in the crash. Two other passengers, Bailey Wind and Matthew Hardy, are still recovering from their injuries.
The Siena College statement continued: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the Shenen dehowa and Shaker High School students who were involved in the crash on the Northway Saturday night. During this time of grief, we hope that all those affected by this tragedy can find comfort in the support of their family, friends and community."
An outpouring of emotion
An emotional candlelight vigil to honor Stewart, Rivers, Hardy and Wind was held Tuesday night at a packed football stadium at Shenendehowa High.
Balloons were released to honor Stewart and Rivers, and his No. 69 football jersey and her No. 19 softball jersey were retired by the school's athletic department.
In one of the most emotional moments of the night, Hardy came in via ambulance from Albany Medical Center, and he returned to the hospital after the vigil was over. He was overcome with tears as he sat in a wheelchair during the event, flanked by his parents.
Also on Tuesday, Hardy's parents, Patricia and Rob, released a statement asking that the community keep its attention focused on the students who lost their lives.
"We appreciate and are overwhelmed with gratitude for the outpouring of support and concern from the entire Shenendehowa community and beyond," they wrote.
On Monday night, a massive movement erupted on Twitter urging Hardy and Rivers' sports heroes -- quarterback Tim Tebow and Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin, respectively -- to call the injured students. The hashtags #TebowCallMatt and #MissyCallBailey were retweeted tens of thousands of times and, within hours, both athletes had contacted the students.